DO THE TON

Turn your Brain Off and Shoot the Shit => Loungin at da club => Topic started by: beachcomber on Nov 15, 2010, 07:11:17

Title: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 15, 2010, 07:11:17
Some of you may have read my little story about "fishing for Gold Stars" from the early sixties, and there was a suggestion that there should be a thread for more of the same - others have indicated a willingness to throw their hats in the ring - so I'll kick it off. PLEASE - no "he said she said , but it might have been his Brother's stepson" - first hand stories are best.

Hopefully this will give a bit of an insight to the Cafe Racer Roots for the younger devotees.

"Get out of my town "

1962, riding with a bunch of good mates back from a burn up that started at Gallows corner and ended in Southend  [ 20 miles ]  - Southend is a bit like a small Coney Island - for East Enders. So after taking our fill of jellied eels, winkles and cockles and other Essex delicacies, we took a slowish ride back to Romford, which was the largest town in the area. It was also a market town - and in those days still held weekly livestock sales - in other words - a bit of a hick town. At the time my main ride was an ex-race Manx Norton that had "Bobby Dodger" bicycle lamps front and rear to make it "road legal" - that was the only change from the race track - oh yes and a bulb hooter. The approach to the market square was over a slight rise and as we were all meeting up at a Caff in the square - I thought I'd announce my arrival by screwing the bolloxs off the Manx and letting it bellow on the over-run through the open megga into the square, by now 2.0 am.

However, plod was on his late shift - and on a push bike coming the other way. On hearing the commotion he started waving his torch at me to stop - I obliged by taking the torch off my forks and waving it back!! Not a good start to our relationship. Now then - you have to imagine a good old English Bobby, with pointy helmet [ on his head ! ] and wearing a Dracula style cape over his shoulders. So I pulled over, with 20 or so of my riding buddies behind. He started to give me a dressing down, but his voice was drowned out by the instant revving of 20 or so bikes!

This got him really mad, so he went for the ultimate option - he drew his truncheon - now a truncheon was not like the US versions - this was around 12" long and more like a small club. Remember English cops have never been armed with anything lethal. So, Her Majesty's finest takes a legs akimbo stance in front of my bike slowly banging the truncheon into his other open palm for effect [ ?? ]
.
Walking around the bike he then stops at the main cause for his concern - the open megga. Still smacking the truncheon into his open hand he warns me that apart from the other 10 or so violations he could do me for - the open pipe was the worst offence.

He then insists that I start the bike - which entails a racing push off as there's no kick starter. To keep the engine running you had to slowly blip the throttle, which made a glorious noise on the over-run.. Plod was not impressed by this display and stopped banging his hand long enough to stick his truncheon up the megga................

"Ahha, I thought so" states Sherlock - "NO baffles".

"Fuck my old boots " says I " they must have all blown out down the road!

By this time my mates are in fits of laughter and the copper realised that he has lost any small control he might have had and decides to withdraw gracefully.

He returns to slapping his hand with the truncheon ..................... now covered in exhaust grime, soot and shit.

He takes one more tour of the bike, this time stroking his bushy moustache for dramatic effect.

"Well my lad, it's your lucky day - just get out of my town and don't come back until that exhaust is fixed".

By this time it's all me and the lads can do to stop pissing ourselves with laughter........................

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/PICT1381_jpg_zpsed3c2569.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/PICT1381_jpg_zpsed3c2569.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: djelliott on Nov 15, 2010, 10:33:24
Nice. That could be a scene from movie. Keep them coming. I love the first hand accounts.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Nov 15, 2010, 10:52:06
I love IT! Please keep up the tales of beachcomber! You are a talented writer, I could visualize every second of your story and even see that smirky grin you were wearing!  ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 15, 2010, 12:04:25
I'd have given my left bollock to see the reaction when he got back to the nick with his face covered in exhaust soot !!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Nov 15, 2010, 15:07:38
haha! oh mann, that is funny as hell!

more please!

you should write a book!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: IndieSol on Nov 15, 2010, 16:43:38
Great story.

Reminds me a bit of my dad.  My father was a greaser growing up.  I imagine greasers don't need a whole lot of introduction for those of us in the states, but for the users elsewhere in the world, they were more or less the American version of cafe racers in the 1950s.  They were, from my dad's accounts, very much like what the British papers made the mods and rockers out to be.  They were, especially in the case of my father and his friends, a rowdy bunch not afraid to get in trouble.  In fact, my father has had false teeth since he was sixteen, when he (on his own) told a large group of dudes to "Eat me like a Hershey bar, nuts and all"  He went on to join the Military, where he stayed for twenty years, including special forces duty in Vietnam.  In short, he's a badass.

Anyways, my father and I were driving down the lonely highway 50 in Nevada.  It's supposedly the loneliest highway in America.  There are lots of stretches where someone can open up the throttle a bit.  It was in one of these stretches that my father got popped by a state trooper for speeding.  He must have been doing 110 or 120 when the cop nailed him.

The cop comes up to the window, asks my dad for his license and registration and asked "Do you know how fast you were going back there?"

"Absolutely not, officer.  You can't take your eyes off the road at that speed.  Not even for a second."

Had I been a bit older, and had more experience with police officers, I would have shat when he started laughing, but that's exactly what he did.

He ended up letting my dad off with a warning. 

Side note - Were it not for Geography, my dad would have definitely been a cafe racer.  He was even born in London's East end, sixth district.  My grandmother is British and worked for the MOI as a typist during WWII before she met my granddad.



Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 15, 2010, 17:41:40
Thanx for the encouragement and kind words - quite honestly there were a hundred tales from the day. You really had to be there to believe some of the stories. However, I PROMISE anything I write WILL be from first hand experience.

I don't want to overload the system - and I'd like to hear stories from others - so I'll spin them out over the coming months.

Upcoming before Christmas - a story about a vanishing motorcyclist - there's two stories actually - I'll pick one.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: VonYinzer on Nov 15, 2010, 19:12:44
Wonderful... Absolute gold gents.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Makr on Nov 15, 2010, 20:27:37
AWESOME!!! Keep them rollin'.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Ringo on Nov 15, 2010, 23:59:13
Very cool. Can't wait to hear more.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Nov 19, 2010, 15:45:06
Best thread this year!  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 19, 2010, 17:59:38
OK you guys - here's the choice for the "Christmas Tales".

1. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #1 ] - MY favourite
2. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #2 ]
3. The Crispy Daimler Dart - GRP 2 seater British sports car - given to the pursuit police to catch the bikes !!!!
4. The disintegrating Robin Reliant - 3 wheel GRP utility car - used in the UK comedy show "Only Fools and Horses".

OK - any one of the above and the most popular vote gets it. The other 3 will appear sometime next Spring. Don't worry there are dozens more for the rest of the year !

Just a bit of English translation in advance -

1. Roundabout - or traffic island. Used in the UK [ and EU ] usually where there are more than 4 roads at a junction [ not always ], and especially where the traffic flow doesn't need to be slowed to a stop by traffic lights.
2. Dual Carriageway - 2 lanes in each direction usually seperated by a central barrier.
3. Lay-Bye - I have NO idea what the US equivalent might be, but these are sections of the highway [ usually around 400 - 800 yards] widened on the nearside for trucks / cars to pull over / rest.
4. "Lanes" - very narrow country roads barely wide enough for 2 compact cars to pass usually bordered with hedges and sometimes, liberally covered in cow shit.
5. Transports Caffs - contrary to popular misconception, in the early 60's we used to meet in Caffs set aside mainly for truckers - NOT Coffee Bars. Coffee bars were a later phenomenon - 67 on - and were MAINLY used by Mods. We very rarely met at pubs or consumed alcohol while out for a ride. Ohhhh - don't even get me stated about Juke Box "Record Racing".

That'll do for now and hopefully stop my US cousins saying "WDF is he on about"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: phrige on Nov 19, 2010, 18:21:56
I vote for #1,

 THough really curious to hear them all. #3 sounds promising!


Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Nov 19, 2010, 18:34:29
Can't wait to hear them all, like phringe, number 3 has my interest, but #1 being your fav, I've gotta hear it!

Thanks again comber for sharing these tales, this is better than any TV show or mag out there!

Do you want to adopt a grown american man to be your very own son?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Nov 19, 2010, 18:38:21
#3 sounds good!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Saki on Nov 19, 2010, 19:53:30
OK you guys - here's the choice for the "Christmas Tales".

1. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #1 ] - MY favourite
2. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ #2 ]
3. The Crispy Daimler Dart - GRP 2 seater British sports car - given to the pursuit police to catch the bikes !!!!
4. The disintegrating Robin Reliant - 3 wheel GRP utility car - used in the UK comedy show "Only Fools and Horses".

OK - any one of the above and the most popular vote gets it. The other 3 will appear sometime next Spring. Don't worry there are dozens more for the rest of the year !

Just a bit of English translation in advance -

1. Roundabout - or traffic island. Used in the UK [ and EU ] usually where there are more than 4 roads at a junction [ not always ], and especially where the traffic flow doesn't need to be slowed to a stop by traffic lights.
2. Dual Carriageway - 2 lanes in each direction usually seperated by a central barrier.
3. Lay-Bye - I have NO idea what the US equivalent might be, but these are sections of the highway [ usually around 400 - 800 yards] widened on the nearside for trucks / cars to pull over / rest.
4. "Lanes" - very narrow country roads barely wide enough for 2 compact cars to pass usually bordered with hedges and sometimes, liberally covered in cow shit.
5. Transports Caffs - contrary to popular misconception, in the early 60's we used to meet in Caffs set aside mainly for truckers - NOT Coffee Bars. Coffee bars were a later phenomenon - 67 on - and were MAINLY used by Mods. We very rarely met at pubs or consumed alcohol while out for a ride. Ohhhh - don't even get me stated about Juke Box "Record Racing".

That'll do for now and hopefully stop my US cousins saying "WDF is he on about"


the lay-bye would just be a rest stop, though ours are quite fancy and normally have bathrooms and such though some are just a little stretch of road and nothing else.

As for my vote I'd like to hear #1 cause if its your favorite its gotta be good.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: RatBag22 on Nov 19, 2010, 20:01:42
Lay-bye? good heaven's, slang must change from place to place in the UK as well...

In wales we call it a "hard shoulder" it baffles me as to why, but it seem's to have stuck.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Makr on Nov 19, 2010, 20:02:40
Defiantly want to hear them all.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 20, 2010, 06:35:43
Lay Bye - English versions are generally just a piece of ashphalt set aside for brief stops / breakdowns. In the EU - France and Germany especially they are proper rest over places with toilet / washing facilities, pic-nic tables and so on.

BTW - the "dual carriageways" originally acted as arterial roads to carry traffic around a town rather than through it - for that reason they were also called " Bye-Pass".

I won a prize from an English bike mag. once for alliteration based on Bye-Pass - " Bought a Bonnie to burn up the bye-pass" was one of my offerings. Got me a years' free subscription to the mag !

Forget my preferrence - it's your choice - #3 seems to have it on a free vote, #1 has been biased by me I guess. Don't worry - both had me in stitches just recalling the incidents!

Hey - do you have Roundabouts in the US? Favourite haunt of the 4 wheel "drifter boys" as you can imagine.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Drewski on Nov 20, 2010, 09:55:20


Hey - do you have Roundabouts in the US? Favourite haunt of the 4 wheel "drifter boys" as you can imagine.

There are a few in Canada, but I don't think they're very common. I've seen a couple in prairie cities and a few in Toronto.

Down the road a little in Cambridge, ON, the "powers that be" decided to add some small roundabouts in the suburbs of the city a couple of years ago. I think it was just to be different. Most of the locals hate 'em!!  They confuse the crap outta too many drivers around here!  ;D

Keep the tales comin' Beachcomber!!  :) 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on Nov 20, 2010, 14:09:35
I vote for no 1 please.
I was round a friends today getting some valves reground and he had a daimler dart V8 engine on a stand next to the bench.
Sweet little lump.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Ringo on Nov 20, 2010, 15:28:34
Put me in for #1.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 21, 2010, 09:38:59
I was just doing the rose tinted specs bit with myself and a bottle of Brandy last night -
"Dangerous Roy and the Manx engine" - will definitely be on the list !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Nov 21, 2010, 11:09:41
theres a couple roundabouts here in the states; not common though.

i love them! every time i go back to malta i have a blast racing around them; their a great way to find out well your car can hold a turn! haha


EDIT: this is my 3000 post. man i need to get off this site.  :D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Nov 21, 2010, 12:42:36
There are  quite a few roundabouts in Massachusetts, around Springfield area (haven't been around much  of the state.)
 Was really surprised to find some in Florida, they are tiny ones though in housing developments  to save space (as in Britain) or as speed calming devices, only about 20~30 ft diameter.
 Still 'interesting' though.
In the early 80's I used to hang out with Harlow 70's.
 Rode to Harlow from South Wales (236miles, 1hr 45~50 mins, pre GATSO/speed camera  ;D) then another 70 miles to 'Saarrfend'.
 They wondered why I wasn't too happy  ::)
 Got a few stories, when I can remember them  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Nov 21, 2010, 17:18:39
Brandon Manitoba has two "Traffic Circles", Small one laned ones. I loved to race around them in 10 laps or so before cutting out again.  


For those of you who watch Top Gear, on the Cool Wall there is in fact a "Beachcomber" category. The problem is, Nothings cool enough to get placed there so they never talk mention it.


BTW, I vote for #3
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 21, 2010, 19:07:08
Came across this little gem - this was the police issue Daimler dart - complete with bell on the front grill [ before sirens !! ].

The plod on the left could have been the brother of the one from my previous story - plus moustache of course !

Hardly Crockett and Tubbs eh?

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/10_08_6.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: cowboysculptor on Nov 21, 2010, 21:11:39
I can think of a couple roundabouts in Philadelphia. As for the lay-bye, I've heard them referred to as breakdown lanes.

But we seriously digress; I don't think any of us checked out this thread to compare notes on road terms. Go ahead with story three, since that's how we're leaning!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 21, 2010, 23:47:19
Getcher finger out BC.   Otherwise I'll have to drag out my old BS stories.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 22, 2010, 05:51:10
Hoof - I'd be counting on a story or 10 from your past !!!!!! That's the whole point of opening up this thread - to get as many of those stories out there.

Roundabouts ??? Like all good "conversations" there's a little digression now and then - this time relevant'ish to the upcoming plot. No point me banging on about roundabouts [ central to the story ] if nobody on your side of the pond knew what the hell I was talking about! MOST of the roundabouts involved in my stories were at least 30 - 50 yds across - those pissy little "traffic calmers" are fairly modern [ last 20 years ] and generally get driven straight over............then there was the time Rocket George tried to ride across the GBFO one at Gallows Corner near Romford.

The stories are inbedded inside my head - so drafting them up is not a problem, I just want to make them readable. Also remember - most of the events happened at least 45 years ago - need to get the memory banks firing accurately to do justice to my mates who were there at the time. Remember, you WILL hear the skinny - no BS.

I was going to do something like one a month, so as not to hog the thread - however, story #1 - "The Vanishing Motorcyclist" will be coming up in the next 7 days - roundabout and all !!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 23, 2010, 11:19:50
HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as the original self confessed computer dummy - can I write the story up in say Word and then attach it on the forum? Just makes it easier for me to sit and compose the stories - maybe 2 or 3 in one evening and post them as required.

TJ
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Nov 23, 2010, 12:56:53
HELP !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! as the original self confessed computer dummy - can I write the story up in say Word and then attach it on the forum? Just makes it easier for me to sit and compose the stories - maybe 2 or 3 in one evening and post them as required.

TJ

Just type it up in word, then copy all the text and paste it in the post reply box.

to copy and paste, highlight all the text in word, hit ctrl + C, then click in the post reply box on DTT and press ctrl + V
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 23, 2010, 18:01:11
Easy when you know how eh ??
Many thanx for that  TW - it means I can work on several stories and then just post as required.

TJ
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Nov 23, 2010, 18:41:38
Do I hear the makings of a book?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 24, 2010, 06:31:42
Hey BR - that's often been said to me !

My life has been blessed with "happenings" - I've been privileged to meet, work with and even be on first name terms with some of the legends of the automotive movement, both in the UK and the US. I've worked on some VERY high profile projects and most of my designs are still being produced.

I've had what might be termed a "full life" - made a lot of money - lost a lot of money - but always [ nearly ] had the help of a good woman - 1st one turned out to be a bitch - second was a soulmate, but not destined to last and now Mrs. B the 3rd - she's the one and next year [ February ]  is our 30th Anniversary. Huh, and they said it wouldn't last.

It's said we ALL have a book in us - well, I probably have several, but one I AM writing [ and taking WAY too long ] is about the life [ very short ] and exploits of my Uncle Harold - who joined up for WW2 at 16, fought in North Africa [ Para ] and came back to fight through D-Day and beyond and died just 18 years old. See www.operationpaddle.com (http://www.operationpaddle.com). for more info. That one takes priority and should be finished next year.

As far as a bike book is concerned, the biggest problem is that the first Mrs. B. torched ALL my photos, magazines and memoribilia from the late 50's through to the late 60's............................

That said, I WILL keep all the Beachcomber Tales together in a file !!

What IS an inspiration these days - is the enthusiasm leaping out of this forum - sure it HAS RAISED SOME ROSE TINTED GOGGLE MOMENTS FOR ME, BUT AS SOON AS THAT GOES TO BEING THE RAMBLINGS OF A BORING OLD FART - LET ME KNOW AND I'LL GRACEFULLY RETIRE MYSELF.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: cowboysculptor on Nov 24, 2010, 06:53:51
As far as a bike book is concerned, the biggest problem is that the first Mrs. B. torched ALL my photos, magazines and memoribilia from the late 50's through to the late 60's............................

Wow, she WAS a bitch!

Tell the stories, if for no other reason, just because there aren't many people with similar stories capable of spinning a good tale.

My dad has started doing a similar project. He was a follower and participant in the blues and folk scene in the 50's and 60's, and has some amazing stories. (Knocking Bob Dylan flat on his ass in the bathroom of a bar, playing softball with Dennis Hopper, waking from a peyote trip to find Allen Ginsberg on his sofa, only it was real, etc. etc.) My brother and I hounded him for years to write it all down. Now, every Christmas, we get another written chapter from him and it's the best gift of the year!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 24, 2010, 08:39:41
Thanx for the encouragement Cowboy.

hey - my good pal Brian is currently doing his 4th. research trip to the US. His interest is also early Blues - and he's writing a book !

When he gets back [ next week ] how about I give you his e-mail address? Maybe your Dad and Brian will have some stories to swap? Small World eh?

The problem is that when - like your Dad - you've been there in the day and done the deed, it can sound like horrible name dropping to others. Then you just say - "Whaddafuck - I WAS there".

Like the time at Le Mans when we organised for Carroll Shelby to come over for his 35th. Championship winning anniversary and provided the car for him to drive. Highlight ? My driving a race Cobra with French TV cameraman aboard on the 2 display laps that Carroll did whilst TRYING to keep up with him for the filming - or was it sitting in the tent awning in the evening, with Carroll, Bob Bondurant and Pete Brock shooting the breeze whilst Mrs. B introduced all 3 of them to Pernod - oh shit what a night, couldn't buy it.

Here's Mrs.B with Bob Bondurant and Pete Brock - behind are the cars we supplied for Shelby and Bondurant to drive on the parade lap.

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/personal%20stuff/cars040.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: cowboysculptor on Nov 24, 2010, 09:32:03
Nice! What I wouldn't give to have one of those old Cobras . . .

Actually, my brother and I called my dad out once about all the famous people he met and hung out with. Couldn't possibly all be true, we said.

He set us straight. In a nutshell, what he said was, in the 50's and 60's there were so few people willing to break out from convention that if you saw someone interesting across the street, you bought him a beer. These people weren't famous, they were just cool guys. Do it long enough and eventually you meet people who become famous. Fair enough.

Not all the stories were about famous people, like when he drove through a blizzard in a VW beetle with one headlight and no floor just to go see, I don't know, the best banjo picker he'd ever heard, or a girl, I forget.

Anyway, it's not hard to get my dad to swap stories, he'd love to talk with your friend.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 24, 2010, 09:41:35
Haha - talking of headlights - this Summer while staying at our place in Saxony we went to see a German biker pal for an evening of Schnapps and BBQ.

Driving home at 2.0 am the alternator decided to give out on my old Volvo T5 estate that I keep out there.

This was just as we'd joined the Autobahn and about 25 kms from home. All the electrics started giving up, so we decided to save power just for the ignition system - and turned everything off - including the headlamps !

Now then - heard that old Irish joke about driving home fast before you run out of petrol? Well in this instance it was relevant - so pedal to the metal - 125 mph+ with only the stars to guide us. Mrs. B and my English pal - didn't utter one word during the journey. We just managed to get to the turn off slip road for our village as the engine died completely. Talk about white knuckle ride.

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 24, 2010, 17:17:41
  "Driving home fast before you run out of petrol".    Made me laugh and reminded me when I had the Manx on the road.   I had a wide ratio gearbox and was searching for some close ratio gears.  I found a pre-war Sturmey Archer box and it turned out to be an box from an Norton International.  Close(ish) gears!  Cool!   A friend had a machine shop and was the local Norton guru.  I made arrangements to go over one evening and swap out the gears.  Sturmey Archer in a back pack and off I went.  The exchange went smoothly.  Norton took over Sturmey Archer and while, over the years, they changed the exterior appearance of the gearboxes the internals didn't change that much.

We got it back together about midnight and thats when th fun began.  It wouldn't shift!!!!  Take it apart.  Check everything.  Put it back together.  No shift.  Shit!!!!  Repeat taking it apart and re-assembly a number of times.  Still no shift.  Eventually it hit us.  The shift lever return spring has a slight bend in it.  We had installed it backwards and when the outer cover was tightened it was snagging on the cover and wouldn't return the lever to the right spot!!!!!

About 4 a.m. we had it back together and shifting correctly.  I headed for home about 20 miles away.  I had a megga on the Manx but I made a simple baffle that went over the end of the megga, liberally drilled and secured by four sheet metal screws.   It took the bark off it but didn't really do much about silencing it.   Gardiner street in Dublin is lined with four storey Victorian buildings.  As I was riding down it the baffle blew off.   At that time 4 a.m. in Dublin meant you were alone.  No traffic.  So the bellows of the Manx were rattling beautifully off the buildings.  I was living at the time in a small village called Dalkey.  My parents lived in Dunlaoghaire which was a town between Dublin and Dalkey.  On the outskirts of Dublin was a small town (suburb of Dublin really).  When you approach it there is a sweeping left hander lined by a sidewalk and 10 foot high walls.  It then sweeps right and drops down into the town center.  At the bottom of the drop is the local police station and a set of traffic lighs.  At night there was always one cop standing outside the station rocking on his heels just watching.  

Figuring he would be there and an open megga was an invitation to visit the local magistrate I decided to simply blast through and hope for the best.  Coming up to the left hander I wound it up, swept through , flicked right and tucked down on the tank.  PC Plod had obviously heard me and was out in the middle of the road waving his flashlight frantically.  As I came out of the right hander I looked up to see the lights were red!  I blew the lights and went by him with a couple of feet to spare and just kept my head down.

My parents lived a couple of miles down the road.  The coward I am I decided to dump the bike at Dad's house and take his car for the rest of the journey.  I cut the engine and coasted into the driveway and parked the Norton at the side of the house.  Before I had my helmet off the bedroom window opened and a voice said "I heard that son of a bitch  at Blackrock!".  I got the keys to his car and headed home.  As I pulled out onto the main road a police car and bike went zipping by.  I thought to myself  I know where you're going but I ain't there.

A new baffle was made the next day and secured a lot better.  I rode it over to another friends house to show off the close ratio gears and as I rode through Blackrock the cop on patrol stopped and stared at me as I waited for the light to change.  I knew what he was thinking.

(http://)(http://img150.imageshack.us/img150/5328/img014vk1.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2008-02-11
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 24, 2010, 17:46:20
Keep 'em coming hoof, keep 'em coming.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Nov 24, 2010, 18:28:47
haha great story hoof! loved it!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Nov 24, 2010, 19:02:41
Awesome, I can't wait till I have saved enough to make the trip I have planned to rent a bike and ride through England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, etc.  It won't be a hopped up Norton but I will see the places on 2 wheels.  The wife and I tried to do it last August as a friend of hers was being married in Glasgow, but we were just to broke to do it :'(  Love the stories, their great!  When I make it over I will make sure to look you guys up to share a pint and some stories.

Maritime
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Makr on Nov 24, 2010, 19:13:38
Great story! Sticky this thread, please.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 24, 2010, 19:17:03
Don't look me up.  I'm back home in Riverside, CA nice and warm.   Most of the time I was there my only transport was the Norton.  Not always with the Manx.  It had a 500T Norton, a 650 Triumph, a 350 Norton over the years.  But a lot of the time it was so cold it wasn't serious shrinkage but more like serious retraction.   Sometimes it was so cold my balls would retract to the point I looked like I had three adams apples.   If you do get over there you'll have a great time.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Nov 24, 2010, 19:24:58
Don't look me up.  I'm back home in Riverside, CA nice and warm.   Most of the time I was there my only transport was the Norton.  Not always with the Manx.  It had a 500T Norton, a 650 Triumph, a 350 Norton over the years.  But a lot of the time it was so cold it wasn't serious shrinkage but more like serious retraction.   Sometimes it was so cold my balls would retract to the point I looked like I had three adams apples.   If you do get over there you'll have a great time.

well I'll look you up when I go visit my Sister in Cali.  I know about cold and only a bike for transport. I had to ride to PEI in October for work, had to leave the RAV 4 for my Mother in law to watch my son. So I took the 79 GL and crossed the longest bridge in the world at just above freezing temps.  Whitecaps and wind so strong it lifted the 600 +lb bike and 200+ lb rider in the air at one point  ;D  but pucker moment, I was only going like 40mph. I slowed down a bit till I got back on the solid land.  they have to close the bridge when the wind picks up to bikes and high sided trucks, sometimes to all vehicles. They closed it half way through my run across.

Cheers  and keep up the great stories.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 25, 2010, 06:11:52
Cold ??????????????????? I attended the very first Dragon Rally [ Bryn Bras Castle ] at the foot of Snowdon in February 1962.

It was a last minute thing and we opted for the "accomodation" for ten shillings [ 50p or around 75 cents now ].

We all congregated at the Busy Bee [ I was on a Tribsa ] around 8.am and set off in convoy. Just North of Birmingham we ran into some snow storms and by the time we got to the venue there was around 10" of lying snow.

Now then, brain of Britain here had set off with leather jacket and jeans but with a thick ex. submariners woolley jumper to keep out the cold - nahhhh - didn't work, we were frozen. The ground temperature was -15 degreees. On arrival we found our accomodation - an ex-army tent ! No bedding or anything - just the bare grass. I decided that the BBQ pit looked inviting and when it had died down just to the embers I jumped on top of the grill and slept there. Problem was in the morning [ about 4 am] I got off and much to the amusement of my pals - I had some really nice griddle imprints on the back of my leathers !

The headlight parade around the base of Snowdon was one of those events you just had to be at - a line of headlights as far as the eye could see snaking round the mountain.

Highlight was seeing a couple of guys who turned up on Scott Squirrels [ water cooled ] - both ran their engines up and while one drained the rad to wash and shave [ stripped to the waist ! ] the other used the rad water to brew up a cuppa .

When we eventually got home I was so cold I had to be lifted off the bike.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Nov 25, 2010, 09:20:00
Yes!  That is another great story ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hot Rod Troy on Nov 25, 2010, 13:24:01
Oh, to have been a young man in the 50's and 60's.  Some of the storys my Dad tells just make me wish I had a DeLorean with a flux capacitor.  Please keep the stories coming.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 25, 2010, 18:13:38
Great story! Sticky this thread, please.

Sorry, don't know how to or what the protocol is ???????

Maritime, if you're around the Midlands [ South of Birmngham ] call in for a beer or 3 - we've always got a spare bed.

yes - the Dragon Rally - there's loads of little instances like that, but not really long enough for a "story". AND - I don't want to overstay my welcome or abuse the forum.

It WAS a genuine pleasure to be a youth in the 50's and 60's - wartime austerity and rationing was about finished. Bikes and fuel were really cheap. With the coming of cheap cars - the Mini, Ford Anglia and so on - the day of the bike for commuting was over - so there were 1000's of unwanted bikes. Employment prospects were excellent for those that wanted to work. Military conscription [ compulsory ] had ended about 12 months before I was due to be called up - so I missed that - yes life was good.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 25, 2010, 20:10:41
I'm sitting here and the turkey is in the oven with an hour to go.   I've been reading this thread again and I have to agree with BC.  Despite the fact that you can, today, go buy a 175 mph 'Busa the 50s and 60s were more fun.  A lot less restriction.   I was on another forum and there was a thread about racing 50s.  It triggered off a lot of happy memeories of the time I was racing a VanVeen Kriedler.

One of the happier memories of that time was a trip to the Isle of Man.  It was 1980.  I know, not the 50s or 60s.  Time is a trip so don't worry.  Its about 50s so that makes it OK.   A friend in the Island was trying to get 50cc racing going in the Island but the A.R.A. (Andreas Racing Assoc.) didn't want to know about 50s.  He kept at them and eventually they caved in and said they would run an "evaluation" race.  

Bob called me to ask if I would come over and race.  He said the ARA would give us a ten lap race on the Jurby road cours.  The Jurby road course was 4.7 miles.  Instant YES!!!!!!.   He asked me if I could round up whoever I could as the ARA would only run the race if they had a full grid.  I told him to call Don in Northern Ireland and Ron Ponti in London.  In all we scoured up a grid of 26 which was more than enough.  The best part of this was the ARA was paying our expenses to get to the Island!   Too cool!!!  We had become pro racers!!!  A few days later Don rang me to say he had booked a "luxury yacht" to get us to the Island.  When my wife heard that she wanted to come along but I had to tell her it was a guys only trip for a race.  We weren't going to be sightseeing.  She understood but still wasn't happy at being left behind.

The "luxury yacht" was to leave from Portaferry on Strangford lough in Northern Ireland.  Cal Crowe (a.k.a. the wanderer) and I drove up to Portaferry.  We met up with the guys.  I should say here that one of the guys was Robert Dunlop.  He had just started racing and had a VanVeen Kriedler.  This would be his first trip to the Island.  Little did we realise it was the first of many trips that would make him a hero.The sad part about Robert racing 50s was that he was obscenely fast from the start and for most of us our chances of winning went out the window.

We met up in a pub on the docks and waited for the "luxury yacht" to arrive.  After a short wait we heard the chunka, chunka chunka of a boat coming to the dock.  The "luxury yacht" turned out to be a converted trawler.  It was  the same trawler that took Joey and his works Hondas to the Island.  It was also the same trawler that sank in Strangford lough a few years later with two of Joey's works Hondas on board.  The Hondas were retrieved but as far as I know the boat is still on the bottom.

We got to the Island around midnight and thankfully some ARA guys were there to meet us with vans to transport us to the circuit.  They got us to the circuit and dropped us off and disappeared with a cheery "See you in the morning".  They had a tent set up for us with some sleeping bags.  But we were starving.  After they left we promptly raided the food tent.  Its amazing how much damage nine guys can do to a food tent.

On race day were were given letters instead of race numbers.  We were told it was an evaluation race and their insurance said we were to have letters instead of official race numbers.  We couldn't have cared less.  We were in the Island and we were going to race!!  We got a few laps of practice to learn the course.  It was a 4.7 mile road coure and compared to Irish roads it was like a billiard table.  The Irish guys had a big advantage over the English racers as they had no ROAD experience.  All their racing was on short circuits.
  
I thought the practice was timed and our grid positions would be determined from our times.  When we were called out to the grid I did my usual thing and stopped on the back of the grid and waited to be gridded in my qualifying position.  Instead it was a first come first served thing.  I wound up on the back of the grid thoroughly pissed off!  The flag dropped and I made a bullet start.  I passed a bunch on the long run up to the first corner but was still a ways behind.  With no pit signals by the time lap three came around I had no idea where I was lying.  I had picked off a few guys and hadn't been passed by any.

Thee was four English guys that had brought over four brand new VanVeens.  Exquisite little machines.  I spent a good bit of the morning drooling over those bikes.  Around the fourth lap I was approaching a very fast left hander and I saw Don with his bike parked against the hedge.  I lifted my head to see if he was OK.  He gave me the thumbs up and the getchyerhead down signal.  On the next lap there is an uphill double apex left hander that leads onto a long downhill straight.  Perfect for little bikes to fly.  Coming up to this corner I caught up with the four VanVeens.  They were slow as they had no road experience and were a bit intimidated by the hedges and walls.  I figured they would be a lot faster than me and I'd let them "tow" me down the long straight.

Fast they were!  The tach was reading a hair over 17,000.  I'd never seen it that high before.  I had my braking point picked out but the four of them sat up in unison way before I was planning to brake.  I whipped out from the draft and went by on full throttle, sat up, hit the brakes and moved over to take the line.  Out of the left hander I headed to where Don was stopped.  I figured these VanVeens would come flying by at any moment.  I saw Don out on the side of the road doing his best Pete Townsend of the Who windmill with his right arm.  I thought crap! these guys are going to swallow me up.  I kept my head down and went into the corner flat out.  The bike was twitching and I was shittin' myself.  I didn't dare look back.  Up to the hairpin and onto the straight.  They still didn't come by.  For the rest of the laps Don would be waving frantically and I was taking this corner flat out and scaring myself shitless each time.

After taking the checkered flag I stopped to pick up Don on the slowing down lap and give him a lift back to the pits.  When we got to the pits I asked him why he kept waving me on lap after lap?  His reply annoyed me no end.  He said "The first time the VanVeens were on your  tail and  after that I just wanted to see if you would take the corner flat out".  I told him to go get a scoop as he was going to have to clean out my leathers!

Naturally Roert won at anaverage speed of 72.240 mph.  I was shocked to find that I was second at an average speed of 69.99 mph.  Which pissed me off totally.  Why the hell couldn't the timekeepers simply said 70 mph??  Long story.  Sorry.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Robert and Cal as we headed out of Strangford lough.  Don't ask about the hat.  Robert thought he was super cool with that stupid hat.

(http://)(http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/6661/img050an8.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2008-04-10

The orange Kriedler is mine.  The lime green Kriedler is Robert's and the nifty Minerelli powered moncoque is Don's.

(http://)(http://img214.imageshack.us/img214/1927/img141ju2.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2008-03-03

Don and Robert as they wait to go out for practice.  My Kreidler (M) is peeping between them.

(http://)(http://img155.imageshack.us/img155/7296/img143wx5.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2008-03-03
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Nov 26, 2010, 02:01:41
Cold ??????????????????? I attended the very first Dragon Rally at the foot of Snowdon in February [1964?]

Not to hijack thread,
I remember reading about it in 'The Blue One' (Motorcyclist?) or 'The Green One (Motorcycle Mechanic?) I forget which was which (I was only 7 in 64')
Didn't get to The Dragon' until 76
 Most memorable was 79 or 80
 Started at 7:00am in a blizzard and had snow for 160 of the 230 miles (took about 15hrs  :o)
 Haydn Reese (owner of local Honda dealers) and me were only people who turned up
Peter Nichol was about an hour late, he only manage 4 miles to the meeting point, had already dropped his Norton 88 three or four times so went back home
 Just north of Brecon we met a guy from 'west country' on an XL250S (forget where exactly, Exeter maybe?)
 Somewhere up by Blaenau Festiniog the passes were closed (blocked by snowdrifts)
 Only one lane of the main road was open, met a snowplough coming down the mountain as we were going up
I managed to do a 180 turn in about 3ft and got embedded in side of 8ft high cut.
We got back to bottom of hill, guys driving snowplough were convinced we were certifiable but let us follow them back to the top without calling cops  ;D
 Put tent up then raided the all night bar (closed at 2:30am  ;))
 I got pics somewhere
 It's all about getting there  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Nov 27, 2010, 23:15:25
hoof, you have lived one hell of a life. i hope you know that.

im jealous man.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 28, 2010, 00:20:19
Lived????? Rocan,  lived????    I'm still breathing and as long as the good Lord lets me I'll be racing.  I'm working on the sidecar right now.  I had to fire up the compressor and its a bit noisy so I closed the garage door to keep the noise down until it shuts off.   Making a new shifter and brake arm for it.  The originals were done kind of hastily to get it racing.  Now that it works we make the pretty pieces.   I'll tell anyone that will listen that I'm the luckiest bugger on this earth.  Not in money terms but in fun terms I'm a millionaire.  

This is the new shifter.  I'm like a raven.  I like shiny alloy.
(http://)(http://img833.imageshack.us/img833/81/img1815e.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2010-11-26

Heres the brake arm.  A ways to go yet.  I also love "speed holes".  : - )

(http://)(http://img843.imageshack.us/img843/2319/img1819d.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2010-11-27


P.S.  Rocan.  If you don't do it no one will do it for you.  Don't dream.  Get out there and do it.  Remember the old sayng.  You can shit in one hand and wish in the other and see what you get first.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 28, 2010, 07:07:21
Hoof,

well said - seize the day guys - don't say " Can I , can't I" - just do it anyway and see what the results are.

After 50 odd years of making those kinds of decisions, you will ALL have your own "...............'s Tales from the day".

Like Hoof, I'm still at it, buying toys I can't really afford or getting out there and indulging my whims, but you find a way.

Let me assure you - there's nothing worse than looking at maybe another 15 / 20 years of life and looking back and saying "If only". Don't listen to the "Can't be done" assoles - not, at least until you've tried it for yourself.

There's NO point in regretting past decisions - they're done, just take the results of that decision and run with it.

BTW Hoof - Joey Dunlop - to have been in the presence of Genius .....................................

BTW - first TALE coming up real soon - "Vanishing Motorcyclist - Part One".
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 28, 2010, 15:41:42
When I was a child I had two friends, Tom and Don.   We were inseperable and we were going to be racers!!  We pedaled our bicycles everywhere as fast as we could.  When the kart craze hit we cut lawns did whatever was necessary to raise $35 to buy a kart I saw.  Then we raced!!!!   To make a long story short Don dropped out of high school and joined the navy.  Tom got drafted and went to Viet Nam.  I got drafted but I had had some a form of polio as a child that the army classified as a recurable disease and 4Fed me.  When I was growing up my Dad filled my head with stories of racing on real roads in Ireland.  So I took off to have a look and the rest is in the link posted below.  Some one by the name of "fingy" started a thread on biker.ie, and Irish bike website, about a photo of me and the long suffering Mrs. Hoof.  He was asking if anyone knew anything about the photo.  Its a long thread but might e of interest to someone.

http://www.biker.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=92937 (http://www.biker.ie/forum/showthread.php?t=92937)

Back to what I was trying to say.  Don got out of the navy and went to work for the VA for 20 years.  Never did get around to going racing.  His parents accumulated a lot of wealth and left it to him.  He's now a multi millionaire with two heart attacks and few memories.  Tom got back from Viet Nam kinda screwed up.  His main goal in life then was to grow pot.  Not a few plants in the back yard but, as in one case, 80 acres in Northern California.  He spent years in and out of jail, on the run, changing his identity.  


Would I trade my memories and friends I've made on the journey for Don's millions?  Not on yer nellie.  John Force summed it up in an interview a couple of years back.  "Its all about friends and memories".  Don't wonder.  Do.  As I've come to realise.  Life is very short.  It may not seem like that when you are 19 but at 65 you realise how short life really is.  Do it!!  Worry about the consequnces later.

P.S.  You don't want to be like the virgin spinster that died wonderin'.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 29, 2010, 17:45:51
Hey Hoof,

if I get a chance to get back over to the States sometime not too distant, I'd love to meet up with you and shoot the shit over a brew or 10.

Anyway - here's the promised story - I went with #1 in the end, but loads more in the pipeline. Sorry - I don't know how to do a sticky or even if it's permitted, maybe someone who knows the ropes could throw in?

"Crispy Daimler Dart" will be the next one, followed by "Dangerous Roy and the Manx Engine".

Anyway - here it is - hope you enjoy it ...........................................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day. The Vanishing Motorcyclist [ Part one of two ]

OK,
So here’s the second of my tales from the day, as previously  - first hand story, no BS  – I was there.

Couple of preambles – in this story we have Roundabouts [ also - Islands ], Lay-Bye [ truck pull over ], Bye—Pass [ 2 lane each way highway with central barrier ] and Removal Truck [ large slab side alloy bodied truck for moving household furniture / items in one go ]. Oh yes, and the then fashionable flip down pilot style visor.

Setting the scene - 1963, a young Beachcomber has just lifted the title of top bike from Rocket George [ Rocket Gold Star ]  with his ex. Bob MacIntyre Thruxton Constellation. How so? Most nights of the week and especially Friday, bikes would congregate in the two Lay-Bye’s – one on each side of the Bye-Pass after a night out at various Caffs around the region – this would normally be around midnight when normal traffic was at a minimum. At the two ends of this particular stretch of road [ 1 mile ] there were large Roundabouts [  Mobey Dick and Gosney’s ] – approximately 30 yards across. The Lay-Byes were situated about 400 yds from the Mobey Dick roundabout. Most would just hang around and buy a hot dog or two from the Ford Thames food van [ Before Burgers !! ]. Then, a challenge would be issued between a couple of the guys to prove who had the fastest bike. This involved pulling away from the lay-bye they were in, racing to and around both islands and the first back to the lay-bye was the winner.

I had held the title briefly with my roadgoing Manx, until Rocket George came along with his wickedly fast Rocket Gold Star – who then held the no 1 spot for a couple of months. That is, until I got my hands on the ex Bob MacIntyre Thruxton Constellation. This bike was as raced at the Thruxton endurance races and was the fastest thing during the Thruxton races. This night the gauntlet was thrown and after a best of three I lifted the crown – 2 to 1. A crown which I then held for 3 months – until a guy showed up on a Vincent Norton – more of him another time - he was also later  involved with the Crispy Daimler Dart incident!

My pals were elated and in a playful mood, so to celebrate we decided to have a mass burn up – with “3 laps” of the circuit. Among the group were a couple of young lads, just old enough to be riding [ 16 ] and admitted to the group on the basis they were younger brothers of established riders. They had a lot to learn, but being young and brash took risks to impress us older, more experienced riders. One such was the younger brother of Brian Rocket [ Super Rocket ], whose Dad had just forked out for a new Enfield Crusader for the lad.

After 2 laps the bikes were well strung out – with the 2 younger lads bringing up the rear and about to be lapped. Approaching the short Roundabout [ Mobey Dick ] we caught and passed the two lads and just managed to avoid a large removal lorry that came lumbering from the minor road and around the island and off up the dual carriageway. I was in the lead – neck and neck with Bonneville Bob when I had to take avoiding action to miss the truck [ my excuse anyway ] “allowing” Bob to take the win and me to consider changing my pants.

Returning to the Lay Bye we became aware that one of the lads [ Crusader ] had disappeared. We all went back to the Island to look for him – assuming he’d pranged it. There was his mashed Crusader on the side of the road, but after 10 minutes of frantic searching there was no sign of the kid. A drunk [ from said Mobey Dick pub ] staggered over saying he’d seen it all and that matey had hit the truck. We assumed the worst that he was being dragged off up the road under the wheels of the truck. With some degree of foreboding we all set off in pursuit of the truck, which because of it’s size and speed hadn’t got that far.

Several of us raced in front of the truck to make the driver stop and pull over. After rapidly explaining what happened we dived underneath the truck to look for the unfortunate rider – expecting to find bits of body all over the place. It was a pretty dark road with no streetlights, but fortunately the driver had a torch so we looked again – except there was nothing – not even a shred of body or clothing. Oh Fuck what now?

While we were all standing there deciding what to do next, we heard a banging coming from above our heads. As we looked up there was a cartoon style body shaped hole in the thin alloy side panel of the truck and incoherent moaning coming from within – we’d found him! Relief all round, but we still couldn’t see matey -  and we had no idea what injuries he might have. The trucker opened up the back and out staggered the lad who was shouting incoherently. We couldn’t see him plainly and guessed he was just in shock – however, when the torch was shone on his face we could see that the “flip up” visor had in fact flipped down – hit him in the mouth and neatly given him a virtual ear to ear grin. As he tried to talk, his ripped cheeks just flapped around.

Now I don’t know if it was the relief of seeing him able to walk – or whether we were just all sadistic bastards – but the whole crew were rolling around in fits of laughter – much to the amazement of the trucker, who thought he might be in line for a beating by us mob.

Anyway – 50 odd stitches later, matey was home and the Crusader had been whizzed off to one of  the lads’ workshops, where it was beaten into some sort of shape and ready for riding the next night. The other young rider was a guy named Roy – or Dangerous Roy as he was known. If there was going to be an accident – Roy would be involved, he was just one of those accident prone people – and the subject of “Dangerous Roy and the Manx Norton Engine” ……………….later
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Nov 29, 2010, 18:35:40
another great tale from Mr. Beachcomber! I am a fan sir!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Makr on Nov 29, 2010, 20:02:30
Excellent stories!

I think we are stickied now.

Epic thread is epic.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Nov 29, 2010, 20:57:16
Joker quote "Do you want to know how I got these scars?"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 29, 2010, 22:20:00
Great story BC!   If you ever get over this way you'd be more than welcome.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Wingspan on Nov 29, 2010, 22:32:44
Quote
we could see that the “flip up” visor had in fact flipped down – hit him in the mouth and neatly given him a virtual ear to ear grin. As he tried to talk, his ripped cheeks just flapped around.

OMG, this hurts just thinking about it. I know that's all you guys had at the time but why anyone would wear a helmet like this now so they can look "vintage" is just beyond me.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 30, 2010, 06:36:29
On the subject of helmets.............................

I always wore one, even from my riding in the woods and trails from the age of 13 onwards.

However, if I needed ANY persuasion it came when I was 19 /20.

I belonged to a local motorcycle club, where there were a good selection of riders - but mainly younger [ loonies ]. We had one ancient guy [ must have been at least 30 ! ] who tried to pass on as much of his wisdom as possible in an effort to keep us out of hospital. He ALWAYS wore a helmet - albeit a "puddin' basin" style.

Anyway, one day at the clubhouse matey [ Don ] runs out of fags - at the end of the road [ 150 yds ] was a general shop selling ciggies. SO he jumps on his Ariel Huntmaster ready to set off to the shop. After catcalls of "Lazy bugger - walk" and similar, someone shouts "Where's your helmet".

"Ah, just going down the road " says Don.

He duly goes to said shop while we all stood and watched - actually listened, as his Huntmaster was done up like a Rocket Gold Star and sounded georgeous.

Out from the shop - fag in mouth. Hits the kickstarter, but his other foot slipped off the pavement edge [ kerb ]. Don does a Monty Python and falls gently to the side. - raising howls of laughter from the boys. Anyway - 5 minutes later and Don hasn't moved. "Ah fuckit he's playing with us" and all back into the clubhouse. 10 minutes later and still no sign of Don. Hmmm, better check this out, maybe he's stuck under the bike.

We all walked down - shouting abuse at him - and still no response. When we got there - he was stone dead as a result of hitting his temple on the kerbstone.. That as an accident at zero mph [ as far as the bike was concerened].

After that ALL the lads wore helmets ALL the time.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 30, 2010, 08:07:54
Footnote to the helmet saga - as soon as The "Everoak Racemaster " was available [ 90 shillings or £4.10s in old money ] I bought one ! That was in the early / mid 60's [?]. What would today be termed an open face helmet, it was the canines cajones in the day, very comfortable with kid leather lining.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Nov 30, 2010, 22:04:06
beachcomber... amazing story there!

and the second one... so sad, but thats life i guess. remember men, helmets. ALWAYS.


hoof! you got me there man! good point. ill take your words to heart, as i have all the others you have given me. thank you.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 30, 2010, 23:20:45
When I started riding in 1960 I didn't wear a helmet.  A friend got hit by a car but he was wearing a helmet.  Not that that helped his broken leg and collarbone.  At some point his head and a tire made contact.  His helmet had a lovely tire mark across part of it.  But no head injuries.  After that I never went anywhere without wearing a helmet.

I've managed to hold onto some of the helmets I've had.  The pudding bowl on the left I bought in '67.  

(http://)(http://img233.imageshack.us/img233/1567/img0354pq3.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2007-09-28

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 01, 2010, 07:03:56
Great story BC!   If you ever get over this way you'd be more than welcome.

Thanx for that Hoof - at some stage before I pop my clogs, I need to visit an old pal of mine in California - whereabouts are you?

My friend is a guy called Keith Harvie who I was in business with in the UK and then he went to the US to set up what became one of the biggest speed shops in the States - Performance Automotive Wharehouse - or PAW as it was known.

Keith and I started up the speed shop "Americar" in the UK - his money, my brains [ ha,ha ]. We ran one of the biggest US Speedshops here in the UK for a number of years until Keith decided he'd had enough of our English weather!

I went on to found my own Speedshop - "Muscle City", specialising in Muscle Cars [ no surprise with that name! ] - and especially Mustangs and Vettes.

Ahhhhhhhhh - more Rose tinted goggles.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 01, 2010, 08:30:52
Come on guys, must be more BOF's out there besides me and Hoof !!!

OK - one more before Christmas - I'll be signing off for some chill time in Saxony and may well be too pissed to write anything coherent!

It'll be "The Crispy Daimler Dart" - sometime in the next week or so. Also, I'll re-write the "Fishing for Gold Stars" as the original left out many side plots.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 01, 2010, 11:06:28
Hoof, just re-read the thread and noticed that you are in Riverside.

I know the area reasonably well as I spent some time in the late 70's / early 80's on business trips to the region.

Handy for me as you're not too far from my pal Keith.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Dec 02, 2010, 03:22:38
Ive never met the guy, probably never will. I keep hearing stories about how Carroll Shelby thinks rather well of him self and likes to distort historical facts about the work done around him to better reflect on himself. Can you shed some light on this?

Also, how does one find himself in the position of building cars and professional race cars for that matter such as your self?

 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 02, 2010, 03:42:44
Shelby and many others are "icons" of the automotve field and their contributions are immeasurable.  Many like their "exalted position" and do what is necessary to maintain it.  Blame some of it on huge egos.  If the truth requires a bit of stretching thats not a problem.  As more and more time passes stretching the truth becomes a lot easier.  The internet also makes it easy.  I've never seen anything better than the internet for turning crap into carved in stone fact.  Throw in the fact that people are gullible and its all too easy.

How they wind up in business is a mystery to me.  I guess I don't have much of a head for it.  A few years ago I was in LAX waiting for my wife to get in from Ireland.  The usual flight delays had me standing around.  Another guy was waiting for his wife to get in from Germany.  Turns out he was Frank Airhart of Airhart brake fame.  We had a long chat and I had to ask him how he got started making brakes.  Like so many he got ino the business by accident.

It was funny though to listen to him talk about the racers he knew.  Where we would say Mario Andretti or Dan Gurney he simply said Mario and Dan.  Long time personal friends.  Did I ever tell you about the time my Norton went 230 mph at Bonneville?  Now that its on the net its only a matter of time before its true. : - )


P.S.  I can understand Shelby's thinking well of himself.  He was a racer and a racers job is to beat others.  When you start to do that on a regular basis and in major races your ego does grow  proportionately.  He hasn't raced in yeas but the history is there and he will do his best to keep it current.  I hold three land speed records at El Mirage and two at Bonneville.  They are in the lower classes but I have noticed that since I have set these records the LSR community treats me somewhat differently.  I am no longer the dried up turd on the foor to be kicked out of the way.   Nobody bows as I pass by but there is a tangible difference and I'll admit to liking it.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 02, 2010, 12:35:26
Ive never met the guy, probably never will. I keep hearing stories about how Carroll Shelby thinks rather well of him self and likes to distort historical facts about the work done around him to better reflect on himself. Can you shed some light on this? Also, how does one find himself in the position of building cars and professional race cars for that matter such as your self?

Well ................. I've known the guy personally and done business with him for over 20 years, I've found him very down to earth and a friendly jovial guy on a personal level. I guess it IS easy to believe your own press and get a bit up yourself from time to time - but as Hoof says, If he can't - then WHO can?

Like most self made men, he won't suffer fools gladly and will dismiss the ass lickers double quick. He was an opportunist - he barely had the air fare to go visit Ford to put the proposition to them re: the Cobra - and at that time hadn't secured a deal with AC! However, with the Ford blessing in his pocket he was able to finalise a deal with AC - basically playing one off against the other until he had a firm deal. His favourite quote was "OPM" - or Other people's money, something he was a master at achieving. He gathered a good team around him - Bob Bondurant. Pete Brock and others - THEY developed the cars - Shelby was the ringmaster. Ommission - Phil Remmington deserves the highest accolade as the man who "made it happen" on the shop floor [ edit 1/4/2015 ]

I've also learned in my business life that there are several sides to any story - and you rarely get the truth once it's gone beyond 3rd or 4th hand, and I NEVER believe what I read in the press.

We [ RAM ] supplied Shelby American with one of our replicas [ ironic or what ! ] fitted with a Caddy Northstar engine that they'd sent over. The whole car was shipped out to SA for evaluation and passed with flying colours. Our own Cobra rep was the ONLY one [ outside Shelby's own ] that had his personal seal of approval, something we're exceptionally proud of.

There are a hundred and one stories from that era - but I'll wait until Carroll has passed on to save blushes !!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Dec 03, 2010, 04:24:14
"The Crispy Daimler Dart"

There is a full restoration thread for one of these on the Grassroots Motorsports website, FYI  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 04, 2010, 03:00:41
A gentle story from the Isle of Man.  1970 was my first trip to the Island.  I went over with three friends.  Growing up here  in SoCal I devoured every ariticle I could find on the TT.   Articles give you a certain knowledge of the course but nothing can prepare you for the real thing.  I was excited and eager to get there.  

We went up on the mountain for the Junior TT.  I don't know exactly where we went as it wasn't one of the spots that was featured in TT reports.  It was on a straight section of road and Frank decided this was the spot where we would watch from.  There was a low wall about three feet tall.  Perfect for sitting and viewing.  We had to go about 100 yards from where we were sitting to get the bikes in out of the way.

A slight tangent here.  At that time (and for all I know even today) hotels would give you a packed lunch if you were spectating.  For some reason it was the same thing year after year.  A small brown bag that contained an apple, a small bag of potato chips and an alleged pressed tongue sandwich.  I say alleged because I don't believe it was pressed tongue.  I think it was a piece of linoleum.  A fast rider could complete half a lap before you could bite through it to start chewing.  And could complete another full lap before you swallowed it!  It was useful as a sort of timing device.  If you were at Parliament Square in Ramsey and you heard that Mike Hailwood had just started his lap you started gnawing to see if you could get through the pressed tongue/lino and start chewing before he got to Paliament Square.

But I digress.  We were sitting on the wall waiting for the road closed car to come through when we heard the bark of an open meggaed single coming up the mountain.  We all craned to see what was coming.  A rider in full racing tuck looking quite stylish rapidly approached.  He saw us and suddenly sat up, braked hard and came to a stop right in front of us.  It was a very nice racing 7R A.J.S.   In a very broad Yorkshire accent he said "Give us a hand lads".  We hopped off the wall and quickly lifted the bike over the wall.  Being relatively careful not to grab anything hot.  He took his helmet off (an old puddin' bowl)  and sat down beside us.  While we were doing all this we heard the bells of a police car in the distance.  The police at the time used alternating bells instead of a siren.  Beachcomber will bear me out on this.

As the cop car got to us we gave them our best he went thataway and they cheerfully waved back.  As soon as they were gone we lifted the 7R back over the wall.  He pulled it into gear and back on compression.  Then a run and bump start and away he went back the way he came.  We never saw him again for the rest of the week.

Most stories end there but I was at the TT in '72.  I was staying in Ramsey as I left it a bit late and couldn't find a hotel in Douglas.  Mad Sunday is a day for the loonies.  I've done it a few times but it really isnt for the faint heartd.  Especially if you go over the mountain from Ramsey to Douglas.  Its so dangerous that the police make it one way from Ramsey to Creg ny Ba.  I wandered up to the Ramsey hairpin to watch the parade of bikes.  As you all know the Brits drive on the wrong side of the road.  Which reminds me.  Why did the siamese twins fly from New York to London?  So the other one could drive!!  That makes the racing line approach to the hairpin on the wrong side of the road.  A cop is stationed in the middle of the rod and if you come up to the hairpin on the "racing line" he stops you and gives you an earful and sends you on your way.  I have to say here that the Isle of Man cops are the most tolerant bunch of cops I have ever seen.  The dumb shittery they put up with during TT week is amazing!

There was about 20 of us standing on the outside of the hairpin.  Theres a large flat area where you can park and watch.  As we were watching the parade of bike we hear the sound of a single on an open megga.  We all shuffled to the left to look back down the road towards May Hill to try and see what was coming.  Here come a rider tucked in and on the racing line.  The cops started waving for him to stop but the rider sat up, hard on the brakes,down through he gears and right around the cop!  The cop spun around trying to get the guy to stop.  It was the 7R Ajay again!!  A big handful of throttle and slipping the clutch he disappeared off up towards the waterworks.  About ten seconds later here comes the cops.  I was shouting him on and the cop gave me a dirty look and came over to "enquire" if I knew the gentleman on the motorcycle.  I had to tell him no but if you couldn't carch him two years before you weren't going to catch him today.

I would love to know his name.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 04, 2010, 15:47:15
haha hoof! great story.


230mph?! jesus man, you need to send me a new bag of salt. :D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 05, 2010, 07:06:10
yes,

Bells were the emergency services [ fire, police. ambulance ] means of warning approach, until the mid 60's when sirens started to appear.

Initially it caused a lot of concern as WW2 was still imbedded on most folks' minds !

These bells were very easilly removeable [ 1 bolt ] and were the prized collectible of any self respecting hooligan.

That reminds me, Crispy Daimler Dart story next week - Here's one we made earlier [ bottom left on grill ]  ..........................

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/10_08_6.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 05, 2010, 13:35:18
Well here it is - the "Crispy Daimler Dart" story - hope it lives up to expectations.

It'll be the last one for a while, although I have drafted out "Dangerous Roy and the Manx Engine" as it had me in fits just thinking about it!

Enjoy or otherwise -

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – “The Crispy Daimler Dart”.
Here’s the third of the tales and follows on chronologically from the previous “Vanishing Motorcyclist” story.

The Lay-Bye racing had become so popular especially in our area, it started attracting the attention of the “Z Car” boys in blue. The term “Z Car” came about from the Police use of the new Mk3 Ford Zodiac, which also spawned a popular T.V. Cop show of the same name - “Z Cars”. The Z cars were introduced to try to catch the London Villians, who took to driving Mk2 Jaguars as getaway cars. They were also the only Police cars of the day capable of getting anywhere near most of the faster motorcycles. This was a time before blanket speed limits, where an unrestricted zone meant exactly that – if you could do 120mph, 130mph, 140mph – no foul.

The stretch of Bye-Pass where the Lay-Byes were situated was unrestricted. However, the authorities very sneakily put in a 60 mph limit at the end of the “race” stretch - between Gosnay’s and the next roundabout down. Beyond that was a 3 mile stretch of unrestricted dual carriageway before the “Gallows Corner” roundabout. This was a huge island with 5 roads coming off it. One of the roads was the popular route to the south coast town of Southend – the weekend holiday haunt of Eastenders!  When the Z cars were introduced, they used to sit in Gosnay’s yard and wait for some unsuspecting lads who had just been blasting down the unrestricted road and roaring off to get to the big blast up to Gallows corner. Now then what you DTT boys have to realise is that contrary to popular myth – not many of the current [ 1950’s / 60’s ] Brit bikes would do a genuine ton, so most of the speeders were easy meat for the 100mph Zodiacs. This was before [ !! ] reliable 2 way radios, so it wasn’t a case of calling ahead or reporting the number to a central dispatch for owner recognition. So basically, if you could outrun the rozzers – you got off.

So why the Daimler Dart? Well “our” lay-bye attracted some very fast bikes – it was no good even issuing a challenge for top dog unless you had a genuine 120mph bike. The Darts had a top speed of around 125mph – so theoretically being a match for even the fastest of us. We soon got to know the Police driver crew – and vice versa and before long they fell into a little game. The Darts were soft tops and in the Summer months the cops would pose around with the top down.

They’d wait for someone to come howling round the island at Gosnay’s and then they’d take off after them. They’d draw alongside the offender and shout across “ We’re only in third gear, if you can get away from us you get off”. Inevitably most bikes would be nabbed before they got to the next roundabout [ still  60mph limit ].

Anyway the story – matey with the Vincent/Norton lifted the crown from me and my Connie, and yes that Vinnie was mighty quick with Picador cams and an Agaard [?] 5 speed gearbox. The cops knew he was the new “top dog” and wanted to set an example of the guy – and yes his name was Vincent!

So, Vincent hurtles past plod in their Dart and gives them 2 fingers as he passes. Now he knew the game about “we’re only in third gear”…..etc. so he deliberately let them catch up with him. “We’re only in third gear”….etc. So Vincent shouts back, “OK, let me change UP to third and see what you’ve got”. With that the Vincent-Norton is off and gone.

The boys in the Dart took the real hump with that, and although they’d normally let anyone go who genuinely pulled away from them – they had a point to prove. Eventually Vincent realised he would run out of petrol if he didn’t stop, so decided to pull over. The Dart eventually screeched to a halt by the Vincent-Norton, closely followed by those of us who could just about keep up. By the time the cops pulled in, Vincent had rolled himself a fag and was having a quiet smoke. This infuriated the Dart boys even more – especially as by now they had an audience. They realised they couldn’t book Vincent as we all knew the score and he had not only outrun them – he’d blitzed them.

So they decided to give his bike the third degree to try to find some roadworthy violation – which they didn’t.

Now then, just in case you’re not aware – Darts were made from fibreglass and in those days it was pretty evil stuff giving off flammable fumes long after the bodies were supposedly “cured”.

So while the cops are busy crawling all over the bike, Vincent having finished his fag, casually flipped it away. Now was it accident or by design ????? Said fag end finds it’s way into the Dart cockpit and 15 minutes later there’s an almighty whoosh of almost spontaneous combustion!! As the fire was inside the cockpit, the cops couldn’t reach in to get at the fire extinguishers. Yea – 30 minutes later - “Crispy Daimler Dart” with only some charred fibreglass and a chassis left !  Next one – “Dangerous Roy and the Manx Norton Engine”

In the pic with the Copper and the bike - the Zodiac is on the right behind him, and on the left is the Ford Anglia - complete with 1098cc side valve engine with 70 mph flat out !


(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/Bikes/DART.jpg)

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/Bikes/PICT1381_jpg.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: phrige on Dec 05, 2010, 16:19:00
so awsome. love these stories..

SO did Vincent get in trouble for blazing the cop car?!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 05, 2010, 16:40:15
Hell no - there were 20 odd "independent and unbiased" witnesses to say it was nothing to do with him !!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Dec 05, 2010, 17:07:59
If we tried that stuff today, we would be locked up for who knows how long saying good bye to our rides... Even worse for you Ontario guys!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 05, 2010, 18:46:06
If we tried that stuff today, we would be locked up for who knows how long saying good bye to our rides... Even worse for you Ontario guys!

If you want to "try stuff" and get away wih it go to the Island for TT week.  The cops there allow you to get away with shit that would have you locked up and the key thrown away anywhere else.  My wife and I were over at the TT in '74.  Had to be '74.  I was usig the Manx for transport that year.  It was all I had that was roadworthy at the time.

We were strolling along the prom in Douglas in the evening when we heard a bit of a commotion a ways in front of us.  We stopped to have a look and it turned out to be some guy, half shitfaced and butt naked riding a 750 Suzuki kettle.  He did have boots on.  Whenever he heard a gal shout he would stand up and shake his naughty bits at her.  A good laugh overall.

As he got to the end of the prom there was two cops waiting and he was duly arrested.  You have to bear in mind that the Island has a helmet law.  He appeared in court the next day and the judge amazed everyone by fining him 40 pounds (Stg.) for not wearing a helmet!!


God I love the Island!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: bikeboy on Dec 05, 2010, 20:56:56
... for not wearing a helmet!!

sounds like that was all he *was* wearing  ;D ;D

Lovin' this thread boys.

ian
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 06, 2010, 00:11:36
holy damn! two great stories back to back!


once upon a time, life was better. bets were settled in public rather then in a courtroom. once upon a time, you could be knocked out by someone only to have them lift you to your feet a minute later.

wish i lived, once upon a time. :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 06, 2010, 06:23:11
Yea, - we can truly say -"Those WERE the days" eh Hoof? 

When I was a kid [ up to 14 - 15 ], you respected the law - not for the laws per se, but you had a real and healthy respect for authority and especially your elders.

When I was a kid if I was caught scrumping apples or some very minor delinquency - a copper would literally give you a quick clip round the ear'ole and tell you to bugger off and not do it again. No point complaining at home to Mom or Dad about it - they'd give you another one !!!!!!

Same with teachers and other folk in charge of kids - NOW, if they raise their voices to the kids there'd be a writ flying around saying their "human rights" had been violated.

Hoof's IOM tale reminds me of a guy we had in our crew whose party piece was standing up on his bike while riding along at 30-40mph. Yea I know - every other stunters first steps these days - but unusual in the 60's.

One day - simply for a bet [ he was stone cold sober ] he got his kit off [ again all except helmet -on head - and boots ] and rode past the Mocha Coffee bar [ in Hornchurch ] which was a haunt for the Mods. The village Bobby on his Vespa scooter spotted him and took chase, but we all got in front of him and surrounded matey and then roared off through the village to safety, whilst plod tried to keep up with his 55mph scooter !

I've nearly finished Roy's story, but every time I come back to it I end up pissing myself with laughter - and that incident was 45 years ago.

Just think what stories YOU guys might have in 45 years' time????
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 06, 2010, 22:02:24
True we didn't have a great respect for the written law but we did have a healthy respect for the officers of the law.  Doing something stupid meant a whack up the side of the head and getting sent on your way.  If (and thats a big if) you told your parents you were likely to get another whack up the side of the head.   But the written law was definitely not to be taken too seriously.

A short story that has nothing to do with motorcycles.  I was sent to catholic schools with nuns that had some pretty vicious streaks in them.  Getting clattered was (for me at any rate) and lack of sympathy from parents was also the norm.  One thing it did do was prepare you for the real world.  You screw up.  Be prepared for the consequences.

I was an altar boy when the mass was in latin.  I got stuck with serving a concelebrated mass.  i.e. two plus hours of a valuable Sunday down the drain.  I was totally pissed off.  One of the responses I was to sing was "O rapro nobis".   For shits and giggles I sang out "O wipe my nose miss".   Sister Rose Marie, my 8th grade teacher was over in the penguin pit ( a small room to the right of the altar).  I glanced over at her and she had eyes the size of saucers!!


As soon as mass was over she was waiting for me.  I was frog marched over to the school and she literally beat shit out of me.  I got home with one eye closed and a bloody nose!!  My Dad was reading the Sunday paper and he glanced up and asked what happened.  I told him and his reply was  " Maybe the next time you won't be so damn stupid".  Mom's reply was I made a mess of the shirt and dried in blood doesn't wash out.

Today that incident would be a major lawsuit.  But back then it was nothing more than a life lesson.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hot Rod Troy on Dec 08, 2010, 12:01:03
True we didn't have a great respect for the written law but we did have a healthy respect for the officers of the law.  Doing something stupid meant a whack up the side of the head and getting sent on your way.  If (and thats a big if) you told your parents you were likely to get another whack up the side of the head.   But the written law was definitely not to be taken too seriously.

A short story that has nothing to do with motorcycles.  I was sent to catholic schools with nuns that had some pretty vicious streaks in them.  Getting clattered was (for me at any rate) and lack of sympathy from parents was also the norm.  One thing it did do was prepare you for the real world.  You screw up.  Be prepared for the consequences.

I was an altar boy when the mass was in latin.  I got stuck with serving a concelebrated mass.  i.e. two plus hours of a valuable Sunday down the drain.  I was totally pissed off.  One of the responses I was to sing was "O rapro nobis".   For shits and giggles I sang out "O wipe my nose miss".   Sister Rose Marie, my 8th grade teacher was over in the penguin pit ( a small room to the right of the altar).  I glanced over at her and she had eyes the size of saucers!!


As soon as mass was over she was waiting for me.  I was frog marched over to the school and she literally beat shit out of me.  I got home with one eye closed and a bloody nose!!  My Dad was reading the Sunday paper and he glanced up and asked what happened.  I told him and his reply was  " Maybe the next time you won't be so damn stupid".  Mom's reply was I made a mess of the shirt and dried in blood doesn't wash out.

Today that incident would be a major lawsuit.  But back then it was nothing more than a life lesson.

Sounds about right!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 09, 2010, 06:11:08
Hey guys,

whilst sitting in an nostalgia and Brandy fueled haze last night in front of ye olde roaring log fire, another tale from the day swam into view. It is more Hot Rodder than Bike related - but bikes were involved.

So was a temporarily absent wife [ somebody else-not mine ], a country bungalow [ single storey quaint old dwelling ]. and a mechanical digger...................... is that allowed ??????????
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 09, 2010, 08:27:52
This REALLY is the last one this side of Christmas as I have to whizz off to Saxony for a while 8)

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day.

“Dangerous Roy and the Manx Norton Engine”.


We met Roy briefly in tale of the Missing Motorcyclist – here’s a little backgrounder on Roy ………………

Roy was 5 years or so younger than most of the lads in our crew, and at heart was a budding Mod. However, that was virtually impossible for him as all the surrounding bikers [ around his neighbourhood ] were Rockers [ generic ]. So he had a bit of a split loyalty – when he could get out on his own, he’d put on his Italian suit and Winkle pickers and then off to the local Palais with his Mod friends.

When it came time for him to get transport he was torn between a Vespa – and “losing” all his local pals, or a bike – which he really didn’t want! His Dad reluctantly bought him a Royal Enfield Crusader [ 250cc ] – and off wobbled Roy to try to fit in with the rest of us.

The second day on the bike he was off to work in London’s East End and even in those days rush hour traffic into and out of London’s arterial roads was hectic. Roy had yet to learn the art of weaving in and out of traffic and an accident of some sort was inevitable. Roy had to dress in a suit for his day job [ insurance clerk ] and true to his Mod roots, he’d wear his finest day time Italian suit complete with Winkle Pickers! Now the Mod style of riding was to hang the feet off the footboards of the scooter as far as possible at 45 degrees, so others could see your footwear. As Roy didn’t know which camp he really belonged to, he rode his bike in a similar fashion. You can see it coming – so Roy’s wriggling in and out of the traffic, until his foot comes into contact with a central pedestrian refuge kerb. These “refuges” were oval islands [ 6 foot x 3 foot ] in the middle of the busy City roads to allow pedestrians to bolt half way across the road, catch their breath and risk life and limb for the rest of the crossing to the other side. So, Roy’s foot came off second best and the collision spilled him down the road [ 10-15 mph ]. When he came to a rest he realised that the complete toe from his handmade Winkle Pickers had been torn off ! Not so bothered about the damage to his bike – or the broken toe!

So that sets the scene for Roy – accident prone as he was.

Anyway – the Manx ………………….

A year later and Roy was really no better a rider, and his Father was trying very hard to persuade him to get a car, even offering to pitch in some cash. So they had a deal – the next accident would be the last, after the inevitable, his Father would insist on him getting a car.

At the time I was having real problems with my 500cc International Norton [ road going Manx ], I suffered a spate of clipped intake valves [ did that affect you Hoof ? ] – and these valves were two weeks wages at the time and the exhaust valves were sodium filled- should one of them get damaged. Actually therein lies a “Mini Tale” –
the “2 International Engines, half a Manx Engine and the Isetta Bubble Car”

Anyway – a pal who lived about 2 miles away from me had a genuine 500 Manx engine for sale, and due to some various double dealing he owed me big time and I got the engine for a song. When the time came to collect ……….ahhh, none of us had a car or van. So I had a brilliant [ oh dear ] plan – get Roy to take me round there and I would sit pillion holding the engine between us! Now I should point out that Roy was only 5’ 4” and was around 100lbs - I was a lot more.

My pal was astounded when we turned up and said we’d take the engine with us on the bike – but we had no choice as his car was off the road at the time.

The road back took us past the notorious “Wantz Bends”, a series of tight double “S” bends. Under normal circumstances these bends were for the brave to take at speed ………..

After a couple of wobbling false starts we eventually got under way, and as long as we remained pretty upright – all was fine.

Then came the Wantz bends ……………….. eager to impress, Roy hurtled into the bends completely oblivious to the additional weight – AND the fact that I had no way of hanging on. Everything seemed to happen in slow motion after that, after the bike reached about 30 degrees I realised that we had reached the point of no return and started looking for somewhere safe to put my valued Manx engine. Yep, Roy was a nice soft place to cushion the impact for the Manx…so there’s Roy sliding down the road with me sliding alongside – holding the Manx engine firmly on his back. We eventually came to a stop, with much moaning and groaning coming from Roy – naturally, I went to check the condition of the engine – phew, no damage, so I carefully lifted it off Roy and put it to one side.
 
Then I turned my attentions to Roy who really didn’t look too good and in fact passed out in pain. A passing motorist stopped and said he would call an ambulance [ no cell phones then! ], but didn’t want to move Roy in case anything was broken. I persuaded the guy to drop me [ and the Manx engine! ] at my house which was only a half mile away where I could use the phone to call the Ambulance.

I got on my spare bike [ 500cc BSA B33 – waiting to become a Tribsa ]  and headed back to the scene. When I arrived the Police and his Father were there – but no Roy. The ambulance had already been and carted him off to hospital where he was diagnosed with broken ribs and a punctured lung! You’ll be glad to know that the Manx engine was fine though.

Roy’s Dad was absolutely furious [ he didn’t know about the Manx engine ! ] that Roy had this time had a fairly serious accident – and gave me the Crusader on the spot, saying Roy would never ride a bike again.

I went to the hospital [ after we got the Crusader home ! ] to check on Roy, who had been very lucky and went on to make a full recovery – he even laughed about the incident years later when we met up.

A week later Roy came out of hospital – the Manx was installed in my chassis, and there was a shiny Ford Mk2 Convertible Consul waiting for Roy.

He was far less prone to accidents carwise, but never got on a bike again! 

That’s it for this side of Christmas, as I have to make a flying visit to my place in Saxony and won’t have time to finish any of the other tales.

As we’re into the busy arterial roads of London – maybe the “Open Air Reliant Robin Van” should be next, as the tale took place on those same busy London streets..
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 09, 2010, 13:23:53
Enjoyed that BC.   I had an ancient Inter some time before the Manx.   It was the Norton standard of 79 x 100.   Being young and dumb (as opposed to old and dumb) it was more important to "race" it everywhere than to learn about it.  I was hammering it home along the Nth. Strand Rd. in Dublin.  It was a little after midnight so it was head down, ass up when there was a God awful bang and then the dreadful silence.   The intake valve had lterally dropped in.  When I got it home and stripped it I found the head was cracked, the valve went through the piston, hit the rod and bent the rod.  The impact of a valve also cracked the crankcase.   But I never had a problem with the Manx.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 09, 2010, 13:39:42
Hoof, strange that it was ONLY the Inters I had problems with, I must have clipped 3 lots of inlets before I swapped to the Manx. And yes - NEVER a problem with it.

Never had the total destruction you suffered, and in all cases the piston just needed a "bit of massage" to get it fit again.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: VonYinzer on Dec 09, 2010, 14:41:02
Quick hoodlum story from over here in the states... Though not mine, the hero of this here story is a very good friend and co-worker of mine that Ive known for years. Hes been riding since age 8 and has had dozens of motorcycles throught the years. Currently owns five HDs from the 1937 - 2008 model years.

Any how... Ben was your average dirty, longhaired biker type in the 70s here in the US. At the time he had a home built HD bobber that Ive seen pics of. Pretty cool old bike.
Anyhow, Ben and his buddys were all out one night barhopping and generally being scum bags of the highest order. They stopped at their last bar for the night, and having just bought a house, Ben decided he needed to break it in and invited the whole bar over after close to do so.
Around one thirty a.m. (the bars here close at 2) he and a few guys decided to head to his place and set up for the upcoming festivities. Now to get from the bar in Rochester PA to his house in Beaver PA, you had to run up a pretty steep hill under a train overpass on the main street. As they were crossing the bridge headed towards the hill, they were all playing games, and kicking at eachothers bikes. Generally being idiots.
Ben (who mind you, is one of the most proficient riders Ive ever met, and at this time had been riding for nearly 20 years) figured he would really show these guys whats what and wen full throttle towards the base of the hill, pulling about 100 ft ahead of the pack.
As they got near the crest, and into the business district of Beaver (which at that time especially was not a real friendly place when you were a biker) Ben hopped up and stood on his seat at about 45mph. Arms out to his side.
As he tells it... The next thing he remembers is flying through the air! That and seeing his precious HD sliding towards the gas station on the corner. He watched as it hit the curb, flew through the air and landed upside down against the pump... Luckily nothing in the town of Beaver was open past six pm (as it is still) so no one was in the way of 700lbs of flying metal.
His freinds saw him go down and rushed to his side. He miraculously got up and had no real injuries. After taking a second to make sure he was ok, they realised that they better get that bike out of there before the local PD showed up. The station was only a block away, and you could be sure that the one cop on duty was awoken by the noise outside.
They rolled the bike behind the dumpster next to the gas station and waited as one of them rode home to grab his truck. When he returned they loaded her up and made it to Bens just in time to see all of the bar patrons drinking and partying in his front yard.
After ushering his guests inside, they rolled the HD into the living room and up onto some cinder blocks. You see, this was Bens ONLY form of transportation and he had to work Monday morning...
By Sunday night (between the party, and the "pity lays" because of the wreck) they had the bike back together and running strong. At least five guys stayed at his house and awake for 48 hrs to get it done.
Unfortunatly his friend who was the groups wiring "guru" had only red wire to fix the now charred and fuel soaked stock harness. They figured, "eh itll be fine" and it was until he was 300 miles from home and the bike wouldnt start, which is a completely different story.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: kiwi on Dec 09, 2010, 19:13:16
Started reading through this thread and haven't laughed so much , ok, giggled, in a long time.  Beachcomber and Hoof, your stories are great and brings back memories for me back in the day too.  BC, winkle pickers, I haven't heard that used in 45 years or so, for those that don't know pointed shoes or boots. Get a kick out of the old pics too, the old 100e and 105e Fords, spent many a long day trying to fix those things as an apprentice mechanic back in NZ. Even though I still ride and mod my bikes, 77 and 78 xs650s, the best times for me were the late 60s early 70s on the Triumphs or BSA of the time. Have a couple of tales that may make it up here, the time I was taken to the cop shop outside Liverpool while waiting for the ferry to the IOM back in 73, or the time I saw the demise,or so I thought, of my Brother back in 71. Keep them stories coming guys, I'm hooked.  John.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 09, 2010, 23:56:20
von... hahahhaa, red wire! xD!!!!



BC! amazing story with the motor! love how you chose the motor over him... glad he turned out ok (even if he is a mod!)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 10, 2010, 06:39:59
Rocan, just a footnote to the Roy tale.

Through the powers of Friends Reunited, Roy contacted me 2 years ago, after a lapse of some 40 odd years.

Won't bore you with all the trivia but get this - Roy went on to become a professional soldier and served in live theatres around the World - ones that generally didn't make the headlines.

He rose to the position of Sargeant Major and went through his service with only minor injuries - now can you all guess which branch of the army he volunteered for ?????????????????????

THE BOMB DISPOSAL SQUAD   :o :o :o....... I shit you not.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 10, 2010, 06:54:43
Hey Von and Kiwi - let's hear 'em.

If you guys are having as much of a laugh reading them as I am reliving and writing these tales [ and I'm sure the same goes for Hoof ] - then great.  ;D

here's a short list for 2011 - provided you don't get sick of them.

1. "The Absent Wife, the Bungalow and the Mechanical Digger". 8) I'm STILL pissing myself with laughter over this one.
2. "Reliant Robin Van - Open Air Motoring"
3. "How to Tow a Gold Star - or Not".
4. "Vanishing Motorcyclist -# 2"
5. "Sign of the Zodiac"
6. "G45 at Ted's" [ look that one up - Matchless G45 500cc Twin Race Bike from the 7R and G50 stable ]
     Oh yes and I'll redraft the -
7. "Fishing for Gold Stars"

Every so often another little gem pops into my head [ usually after a Brandy or 3 ].

I'll add a picture or two along the way so you know what I'm talking about - 'frinstance the Reliant Robin Van.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hot Rod Troy on Dec 10, 2010, 14:10:54
THE BOMB DISPOSAL SQUAD   :o :o :o....... I shit you not.

That alone will have me laughing for quite a while.  Thanks BC.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 11, 2010, 08:27:12
Reliant Robin Van - post war utility vehicle made from GRP and made to a weight limit that allowed it to be driven on a motorcyclists licence.

Had a tendancy to fall over if cornered at anything more than 20mph! Max speed - 70 mph - if you were VERY brave.

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/images.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 11, 2010, 13:25:22
hahahha... brave man to join the military while so accident prone!!


man, this is my favorite thread in the world.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 11, 2010, 16:28:55
Erskine,

just a thought - if you go back round your mate's house - have a look at the cam followers and con-rods in the Daimler Hemi lump. Also give the general internals the once over.

If you know your pre-unit Triumphs [ 500 and 650 ] the parts will look VERY familiar. They should do - both engines were designed by Edward Turner of Triumph!

Capacity wise the Daimler is just about 4 x Bonneville engines.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Makr on Dec 11, 2010, 17:18:49
Beer out of nose is not good. I need to read and then drink. too funny!


Not to get this too off topic, but I was telling my son the other day that when I was a kid, a neighbor/church goer whatever had every right to give you a head smacking if they were to see your personal shenanigans away from home. The only thing we were terrified of is if they told our parents.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 11, 2010, 17:38:20
Beer out of nose is not good. I need to read and then drink. too funny!


Not to get this too off topic, but I was telling my son the other day that when I was a kid, a neighbor/church goer whatever had every right to give you a head smacking if they were to see your personal shenanigans away from home. The only thing we were terrified of is if they told our parents.

Funny but I seem to remember as a child adults had the right to whack you if they saw you up to something.  I know Tom's dad, Don's dad, Doug's dad, Dennis' dad all treated me as if I was their child.  Whacks were impartially delived.  My parents are both gone now but I'm sure if they knew half of what we got up to they would have died a lot sooner or I'd be in a permanent coma.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 12, 2010, 06:54:15
Makr / Hoof - yes and didn't life go smoother with a little healthy respect?

OK we all THOUGHT we were rebels, but generally against authority - NOT the establishment.

Soft misdemeanours in those days that generally hurt nobody - not knifings, shootings, beatings,...........on a DAILY basis.

Of course there were villians around, but in the main WE were having too good a time riding the wheels off our bikes - or clearing up pools of oil !

I remember once [ 14 /15?] kicking my Rugby ball into a neighbours garden. I went and asked [ politely ] for the ball back. The guy was doing some gardening [ very keen gardener ] and promptly stabbed the ball with his paring knife.

Three days later I opened my bedroom window a tad - overlooking his back garden AND his prized Crysamthemums.

Out with .22 BSA Airsporter [ air rifle ], and one by one off came the heads of the flowers [ at 150 yds I might add ] - leaving no trace whatsoever as to how it might have happened. What a rebel eh?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 12, 2010, 13:49:11
I think it did.  At least you knew where you stood.  I grew up knowing that if I got caught I was going to get a hidingl.  No stabbings, shootings etc.    Just a bit of misdemeanor fun.   I like your retaliation BC.  I had a .22 rifle as a child (yes parents gave us .22 rifles as children.  A 30.06 was for grown ups.  .22 was for children so they could "plink" at cans and stuff).   The guy who lived in the house next to Rick Martynec was in a similar vein to your ball stabbing neighbor.   

We were playing baseball in the street.  A pop fly heading for his back yard ( his house was a corner house so his back yard ran parallel to the street)  Rick, trying to keep the ball out of his yard, threw his glove up at it.  Both glove and ball landed in his yard.  Rick's little brother knocked on the door and (politely as we were taught) asked for the ball and glove.  The kid was greeted with a tirade of profanity and told that the glove and ball were going in the incinerator.  We used to have back yard incinerators to burn leaves and garbage.  Try that today with the air quality nazis. 

Rick and I went up the road a few hundred yards to the dairy farm.  This was before the 91 freeway came through Riverside and along with all the other freeways that have been built, destroyed paradise.  We had a couple of shovels and a wheelbarrow.  We pretty much filled the wheelbarrow with cow shit.  Back to the guys house.  Its late and dark so we are safe.  Cover his small front porch from the door to the far side of the porch.  His porch was only about 6' x 3'.   Make a small reservoir in the cow shit at the end of the porch and put a small amount of gasoline in it.  Light it and ring the door bell.  Stand back and watch him try to step through 6" of cow shit to stomp out the fire.  It was OK.  The porch was concrete.  I don't think there was much fear of burning the house down.


Of course he phoned our parents and without a shred of evidence told them what we did.  We got a hiding for it but that was all part of the game.  It was back in the days where you could be convicted on  the word of a grown up.  Didn't have to be anyone your parents knew.  The word of a complete stranger could hang you. 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 12, 2010, 16:21:37
Hoof,love the cow shit tale - reminds me of "stomp the brown bag".

It was a slightly more evil version of "knock down Ginger" - knock on peoples' doors and then run off and watch them angrilly shaking their fists at all and sundry.

This one was when we were a little older - or reserved for someone we really didn't like.

Large brown paper grocery bag, fill with fresh dog crap, set on the doorstep and set fire, knock the door and retire to a safe distance.

Oh the fun when the house owner would come out and start stomping the flames out !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 12, 2010, 16:41:47
I have to admit BC that I am full of admiration (and other stuff) at you picking off his flowers.   The perfect crime!!!!  Before the .22 I had a BB gun but such brilliance never occured to me.  Now I'm thinking of 101 ways to use that BB gun but its too late.  Damn!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on Dec 12, 2010, 19:53:37
You know, I'd really like to hear all these stories spoken by their authors.
Audio book?
Class thread :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 13, 2010, 05:47:04
Erskine, that might be a step too far for my poor PC skills !

Hoof, guess our American Cousins don't realise we weren't allowed to play with real firearms - not legally anyway.

Not without jumping though several hoops and getting your firearms certiificate.

I soon realised I was a pretty good marksman with a rifle and went on to have 30 odd years of fun and competition with "live" weapons. I shot for our county [ Essex ] in small bore [.22 rimfire ] and full bore - in my case a sniperised [ is that a word? ] Lee Enfield .303 with iron sights. Soon got bored with that, as shooting 98 /99's was a daily [ and not too difficult ] occurance and the concentration to shoot 10 "perfects" [ 10 x 100 ] was, well boring. So I took up pistol shooting - which I thought I'd be a natural having had good success with a rifle - wroooong. Never did get to competition level, but we had an excellent [ and free spirited ] club owner that encouraged - well, hooliganism! [ on the range that is ].

Sadly in the UK we had the knee jerk reaction to a couple of loonies going on the rampage and killing folk - and overnight laws were brought in that effectively killed off private ownership of things like M1 carbines [ I had two ] and gun ownership became a real chore so I reluctantly gave up my weapons and certificate some 15 years ago.

My place in Germany however, that's another ballgame !!! 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 13, 2010, 22:02:19
Its funny how Ireland and England have such stringent gun laws.  In one respect its not a bad thing but it seems the baddies can turn up a gun without any problem.  I got a BB gun when I was about 7 or 8.   They are pretty harmless.  Put your eye out but thats about it.  A friend and I ambushed his little brother as he came home from school one day.  Peppered him from about 20 feet.   It just left little red marks all over him.  Then our Dads left big red marks all over us when they found out!

Riverside was a rural(ish) town in the 50s and 60s.  We only had to go a mile or so and we were in the boonies.  Perfectly safe for plinking with a .22.   I never got into hunting as I consider it too one sided.  To me hunting is like Rossi bringing his factory Yamaha to race against a grid of step through Honda 50s.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 14, 2010, 05:15:02
I'm with you on the hunting angle Hoof.

There's a saying - "When guns are outlawed, only the outlaws will have guns" ..............................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 14, 2010, 17:18:38
haha great stories!

i come home from work every two weeks or so with red welts all over... long story short we have a battery operated bb gun that we fire at each other with after we close. absolute BLAST!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 14, 2010, 21:31:34
haha great stories!

i come home from work every two weeks or so with red welts all over... long story short we have a battery operated bb gun that we fire at each other with after we close. absolute BLAST!

Hah!!  I could have a field day working your place.  I wouldn't get anything done but I'd be peppering a lot of asses!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 17, 2010, 07:05:38
WARNING - SICK AND KIDS HUMOUR FOLLOWING - DON'T READ ON IF YOU ARE EASILLY OFFENDED OR PRONE TO THROWING UP.

Not really a tale as such - but the memory had me in stitches - easilly pleased at my age. ::)

Why we changed from wearing Pudding Basin Helmets - a warning to the "noveau old timers".

Back in the day just before I bought my Everoak Racemaster "Jet" helmet [ open faced ], I had the ubiquitous puddin' basin lid complete with Mk9's.

One day we were riding to a coffee bar out in the sticks [ "The Blinking Owl" ] - I had a terrible head cold and origianally wasn't going out for the ride, but my pals said - "Aw, go on, it will clear your head" - remember that phrase.

I actually had to stop a couple of times to expel the horrible mucus that built up in my nasal passages. Anyway we're bombing along and I'm about third in the pack - no real racing, just fast riding in convoy. This was at night [ as most of our excursions ] and there were no street lights out in the countryside. I caught a glimpse of the Prince of Darkness' best attempts at a headlight flash from my pal behind. Thinking he might be in trouble, or maybe about to overtake I took a look round over my shoulder. At 80 mph the wind rushed up the nostril closest to the oncoming wind collected all the built up mucus and hurtled it out of the other nostril. Had I been wearing a Jet helmet, the gooey mess would have been caught in the helmet itself. Not so with the Puddin Basin - like a heat seeking missile the gob of goo hurtled straight towards my pal Dave [ Norton Dommiracer ]. :o

Chuckling away to myself, I carried on to the Owl, about 2 miles away. 30 minutes later and no sign of Dommie Dave, so we decided to go back to see if he had indeed broken down. Nahh - there was Dave sitting in the hedge where he'd ended up after being temporarily blinded by the goo. ;D

Funny thing, he was convinced that a malicious Owl had crapped in his face.................. me, I felt really clear headed all night long.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Dec 17, 2010, 18:37:32
EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwww!!!

I love this bar   ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 18, 2010, 16:28:44
Just a footnote - after that incident the "Blinking Owl" caff was always known as the "Crapping Owl" 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 19, 2010, 23:19:47
Just a footnote - after that incident the "Blinking Owl" caff was always known as the "Crapping Owl" 8)


HAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAH


damn thats a good one! i was with my friend on a boat one day; he spits into the wind, i see it coming at me, duck, and it smacks a random guy right in the eye. we convinced him it was sea-spray as he seemed pretty angry  :D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Dec 23, 2010, 00:30:44
Please Sir, I'd like some more...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 23, 2010, 02:17:59
Having re-read this I should call it a wandering story about Robert Dunlop.  

OK,  It pissin' rain here right now and I'm thoroughly pissed off.  I retired from work five days ago and it hasn't stopped raining.  Just hope it isn't an omen!  Another gentle story about Robert Dunlop.  Despite what Wikpedia says Robert started racing on a 50cc Kriedler.   In Ireland at the time  clubs ran the racing events.  There was one Northern Ireland club that flat refused to allow 50s on their race program.  Don Carlisle was one of the 50 stalwarts in Northern Ireland kept at them and at them until they finally relented.  I got a call from Don one night to say he had talked them into it and he needed a full grid.  He added that they were giving us three races.  Done deal, I'll be there and call everyone I knew.

The day arrived and it was the usual cram four bikes into Pat's van along with tools and bodies and head north.  Aghadowey is right up at the tip of Northern Ireland.  It was also one of the crappiest tracks you would ever lay eyes on.  Where else would you find a track with a corner named shit house corner?  Truthfully named as the ladies and gents were on the outside of the corner.  You'd see better turns in an eye hospital!  At one race Robert was about 30 yards in front of me and he dropped it on the entry to the corner.  He slid, I'd like to say gracefully but that wasn't the case, into the ladies.  Fortunately the door was ajar so the impact wasn't too bad.  Can't remember if it was occupied or not.

Back to what I was writing.   When we got to Aghadowey we were informed that no you're not getting three races.  You're getting one race.  It was a real pisser to haul 120 miles for one ten lap race around a crap track.  Classic racing was just starting and there was a race for single cylinder bikes.  I asked if we could enter and was told yes.  I tried to get the other guys interested but they all said there was no way they were going out on a track with G50s and Manx Nortons.  In the end it was just me, Don and Keiran's brother who actually was his mechanic.

We started at the back of the grid mainly for safetys sake.  Most of the racers wouldn't give you the smell off their socks after the flag dropped so we didn't want to become part of the pavement .  We were running together until I nearly lost the front end on the fast right hander.  Then I was on my own.  On one lap I was heading for the chicane which was flat out on a 50.  A 50 would get up to around 95 at the chicane.  Flick right, flick left short straight, flick left, flick right and up to the hairpin.  I was about 100yards from the chicane when I heard something rumbling up behind me.  A Manx Norton went by at about 120.  He sat up for the chicane and I saw him kiss the front brake with two fingers and knock it down a gear.  In the meantime I'm still tucked and trying to pull the slide out of the carb.  He slowed enough for me to get on his tail and I followed him through the chicane.  Up to the hairpin.  Stopping a 105 lb. 50 is a lot easier than stopping a 320 lb. Manx.   He sat up to brake and I flew by, took his line and led him into the hairpin.  The hairpin was where most of the people gather to watch the races.  Out of the hairpin to the left hander and on to shithouse corner.  There is no room to pass so he had to sit behind me .  It must have pissed him off to be led by a 50 in front of his friends etc.  Out of shithouse and on to the main straight.  As he flew by me I looked over at him and he at me and then flipped me off!

Back in the pits I went over to have a look at Robert's Kriedler.  He wasn't around so I had a look.  Kriedler carbs are very close to the ports so I cranked open the throttle to have a look at the ports.  I noticed the slide didn't open fully .  Curious I tried it a few times and the slide still stuck into the venturi about 3/16".   I reckoned the return spring was binding.  The 50s were out a few races later.  I beat Robert that day.  And at the next meet.  After I beat him the second time he said that as he was almost a foot shorter than me and weighed about 30 lbs less he should be killing me.  I said "You'll figure it out and when you do we won't see you for dust".  

A couple of weeks after that was the road race at Carrick.  It was the first ROAD race for the 50s and we all were there.  It was the usual qualify Saturday, race Sunday.   Saturday night is always spent in the pub.  It was packed and I found a seat for my wife and I sat on the floor.  Robert and a couple of his buddies walked in.  Robert spotted me on the floor and charged over and dived on me shouting " You rotten bastard!!!  You knew all along and didn't say a word!!".    We rolled around the floor wrestling and laughing our heads off.  

The next day in the race Robert left us for dead.  He won the race easily and he was rarely beaten after that.  He was an incredibly fast and brave racer.   One hell of a guy and I'm proud to have known him
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 23, 2010, 06:32:14
Hoof this is just the sort of gems that you DON'T get in the history books.

If this was written while rain stopped play, all I can say is - let's pray for more rain.

Whilst on that subject [ weather ] due to the snowfalls here in the UK my flight to Saxony was cancelled, so I too have some time on my hands I wasn't anticipating ! I SHOULD have been whooping it up with our neighbours in the village, wo had promised us a "proper German Christmas". Ah well, next year.

In turn that means you all might be subjected to one more "tale from the day" from me before I lapse into the Christmas spirit - or is that before the Christmas spirit lapses into me ???

I think it'll be "The Reliant Robin Van - open air motoring" - coming real soon ..................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 23, 2010, 08:30:30
Here it is then - the last one until the New Year - Happy Christmas all..........

Beachcomber’s –Tales from the Day.

“The Reliant Robin Van – Open Air Motoring”

First off here’s a brief reminder about the vehicle at the centre of this tale – the Reliant Robin Van.

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/imagesCAA7J03M.jpg)

This was a vehicle produced in post war [ WW2 ] England in Car, Estate [ !! ] and Van guises as a three wheeler to get round the licence laws of the day to allow motorcyclists to drive these type of vehicles without having to take a car test. They also qualified [ on weight breaks ] for a lower annual road tax fee. It was an effort to get the austere post war economy of Britain going again. Everything was built ultra lightweight to get below the limit – including the thickness of the GRP body.

It was one of THE most unstable vehicles you could ever see on the road – any mild corner taken at 20 mph + would see the thing trip over on it’s side. It was quite common in the day to see folks walk over to right a fallen Robin as if it were nothing out of the ordinary ! Top speed [ ommigod ] of around 70 mph was like 170 plus on a modern Superbike – exciting. On the plus [ ?? ] side road tax was  fraction of that for a car and fuel economy was as good as a bike. They offered an alternative to the ubiquitous sidecar outfit.

So there you have it – the Reliant Robin – in this tale, a Van.

So, we’ve all been up to one of our rare visits to the Ace on the North Circular – which in those days was a bit of a dump – what we’d call “a greasy spoon” caff. Primarily a truckers caff during the day and a convenient place for bikers to meet – generally on their way somewhere else !

Now the North Circular [ where the Ace is situated ], as it’s name might suggest was in fact built to take the heavy traffic away from central London and dump it somewhere in the suburbs. “Our” patch was Dagenham / Romford and in those days literally on the edge of the countryside. We much preferred the local rural Caffs, where you could also enjoy a good burn up along uncrowded [ and NON speed restricted ] country roads.

Anyway on this day the night was young and we’d had enough of the posers at the Ace and decided to get off to the Blinking Owl for some real riding.

As the North Circular was still busy with trucks at that time of night we decided to take a more direct route, which was reasonably quiet.

Initially this was an orderly convoy with speeds hovering around the legal limit for those roads – 40 / 60 mph. Then a couple of interlopers joined in and very soon the unspoken gauntlet was thrown down.

Soon speeds rose to 70 - 80mph through what were pretty busy townlets. The section of road was 2 cars wide in each direction, but with no central barrier.

We were approaching a notorious bottleneck where the road narrowed to 1 lane in each direction to take the road under a narrow rail bridge. I can only assume that the two strangers didn’t know the area well – or were very brave……………. We slowed down in anticipation of the narrow road, whilst the faster of the two looked back and gave us the V as he dived into the short tunnel under the bridge.

We heard a screeching sound followed by an enormous crashing – amplified by the tunnel walls. We assumed the worst and all pulled up at the tunnel entrance to see what had happened to matey.

Anyway – what he hadn’t realised was that there were a set of traffic lights the other side of the bridge and a Reliant Robin Van had pulled up, waiting for the lights to change.

Matey [ Matchless CSR ] had gone smack into the back of the Reliant . When we arrived we couldn’t believe our eyes and immediately fell into uncontrollable fits of laughter. There was the van with matey on the van floor – the sides of the van had blown out complete with the impact, and the roof had peeled forward over the front windscreen as if some giant can opener had been at work. The two bemused occupants were still sat there in the front seats, with CSR’s head wedged between them.

Remarkably nobody was seriously injured and even the CSR was bashed into shape to allow him to ride home.

We even got the Robin “roadworthy” courtesy of some lengths of rope. We pulled the roof back into place and peeled the sides back into position and then wrapped the rope around the van to hold them in place – like some enormous parcel.  

From that time on, Matchless CSR’s were known as “Robin Killers” up at the Owl  
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 23, 2010, 19:04:52
BC,  I can picture that.  A friend in Ireland had a "three wheeled car" as the locals called it.  It always looked like a good smack would have it in pieces.

I meant to add this.  One of the reasons we started the "single cylinder scratch" race at the back of the grid was people like Super Sam and the Ryan Norton.   A true flyin' machine!

(http://)(http://img709.imageshack.us/img709/4449/img086.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2009-12-31
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: kiwi on Dec 23, 2010, 19:10:07
BC, your mention of the Ace being a bit of a dump back in the day reminds me of some time I spent in that area back in 73. I was renting a closet that passed as a bedroom from an elderly woman and her son in Willisden Green. The Lady suffered from Parkinsons, my first time seeing anyone with that disease and it kind of set me back a bit. The son, who was few years older than me, took care of his Mum. In their nice back garden shed he kept his bike, a Norton Atlas I think it was, and it was his baby. On the occasional nice day  we would sit in the garden exchanging stories, and he would mention the Ace and the characters that would gather. among them. When I had time one day I took off down there, and yeah, nothing like it is today, trucks and cars everywhere, no bikes.  I can't remember his name, but the bike I can still see in my mind, funny how that works isn't it.  Knowing I was a bike nut he suggested a trip to the Isle  to see the TT, sure why not, I had just quite my job and due to start a new job in 2 weeks. A buddy and I loaded up the old VW van and headed north to Liverpool, well after a few false starts we did.  After a few wrong turns and leaving London late we arrived in Liverpool just to find out the ferry left from Birkenhead on the south side of the river. By now it was dark, and we decided to stop for the night, and this looks as good a spot as any. We could tell we were near the water, but not sure exactly where, so we went to sleep in back of the van. Next thing there is a loud knocking on the side of the van and voices waking us up from a deep sleep. Slide open the door and see the cops, what the hell is going on here. We were told to get out and stand aways from the van while they had a quick peek through the back. It must have been daybreak, very dark and dreary as only England can be, and I saw where we had parked for the night. In front of the access road the rescue boats use to get out into the bay, and that was Wales across the other side of the bay. Seems the rescue boats are parked in a shed then towed out into the water, or mud as it was then, when required.  We had blocked the ramp, a no no. Off to the station then, and after a few hours sitting around while they did a check on us and a fine was paid for the parking infraction we were off, or so we thought.We didn't have enough time to make the morning ferry and the cops had relieved us of a lot of money, to us, so another plan was hatched. Head north. We had done Lands end, so John O groats was  the plan. Up the west coast, over to Skye, all the way up, then back down to London on the East coast. Had a great time, 2 weeks just driving. The Vw had a 8 track cassette player, but we only had a few cassettes, Led Zep, Tull, CSN&Y , Deep Purple, Stones, so we were able to pretty much sing along to every song, we new them that well. As we got back near London it was dark, got on the North Circular road, the old VW just humming along as fast as she can go, then boom, she just dies, limp of onto a side street and park. Best I can tell it has dropped a valve, and maybe hold a piston. Flagged down a taxi, take us as far as you can for all the money we had left, about a quarter mile from the flat we were renting from the Old Lady in Willisden Green , walked the rest. Next day I went to get the van, and have it towed back to the flat were I could work on it, but it was gone. Checked with the cops and no nothing, but we will let you know if it shows up. Never did, gone. Oh well, shit happens get on with it. My buddy ended up going back to NZ, his experience in Britain was not too good I would say. I stayed with the Woman and her Son for 3 more months, in the closet that I had before. I got a new job as a mechanic for a Lotus dealership in Chelsea and another interesting chapter starts. Its funny how certain people and events are easily remembered and others forgotten. I never did make it to the IOM races, but at least I tried, some what.  All the best guys, Merry Christmas to all.  John.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 24, 2010, 06:05:31
John,

Sad to say I never got to the Island either [ for bike racing anyway] - we set off 3 times back in the early 60's, but each time we were thwarted [ that's a good old word - thwarted ]. None really worth the telling - oh maybe except one ..........................

The only time I ever visited the Island was to play their "National" American Football team - The Manx Comets. That was about 15 years ago when I was still fit and young ['ish].

Missing the racing first hand in the 60's was a big regret and I have to satisfy myself with endless Videos and DVD's - somehow not ever like being there.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Dec 24, 2010, 13:20:50
oh man, thats a great one beach! sounds like the owners of the robin werent THAT upset  :D

john, thats a sadder tale! still great to hear though... i would have been bummed out for years on end if i had a car taken from me...

merry christmas all,
David
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 24, 2010, 20:50:39
BC, Kiwi,  Sorry to hear you never made it to the Island for the TT.   You did miss some great racing and you're right a DVD doesn't quite convey the feeling of being there.  We always stayed at the New Victoria on Broadway in Douglas.  Except for one year I was broke and suddenly made a few quid and on a couple of days notice headed for the Island.  We stayed in Ramsey as there was nothing available in Douglas.  No "adventures" getting there or back.  It was all pretty straight forward.  We had a lot of fun there though.  Hailwood's comeback year was amazing.  The tourist board was pleading with people to open up their houses to help accomodate visitors.

Mad Sunday that year was a lunatic assylum.  I did a lap very early in the morning and we went to Crg ne Ba to watch the fun in the after noon.  The Creg was a great place to watch all the Hailwood wannabees.  You could see all the way down from Kate's Cottage.  Its a pretty steep drop.  I had the Mini over one year and as we passed Kate's at about 25 I knocked it into neutral.  By the time I had to hit the brakes the Mini had coasted up to 95 (speedo reading).

As I said we were at the Creg watching the fun.  A "clump" of about a dozen riders swept around Kate's and started the long drop to the Creg.  We were all watching them to see who would sit up first and brake.  They all sat up together and in the middle of the "clump" was an IoM motorcycle cop!  He was very stylish as he swept though the Creg and headed off towards Douglas.   I'd love to have seen what sort of lap time he put in!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 25, 2010, 06:54:43
Hoof,
my problem [ Island wise ] was that in later years [ late 60's on ] the TT normally clashed with the Le Mans 24 Hour Race - and by that time my business was fast / racing cars and that took priority. As many Lemon tales as bike tales - don't worry I won't get started ! There was the time when we ended up with 20 Frenchies on and in my Citroen CX Estate....................

Footnote to the Robin tale.

When the dust settled [ literally ] it turned out that the Robin driver had no road tax or insurance and had no appetite to involve the Old Bill.

 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Dec 25, 2010, 11:53:32

First off here’s a brief reminder about the vehicle at the centre of this tale – the Reliant Robin Van.

(http://)(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/imagesCAA7J03M.jpg)

 Hate to be an ass (well, no actually I don't  ;D)
 That's not a Robin, that's a Regal
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Regal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Regal)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reliant_Robin)
 I know most people won't know or care but I like things to be 'right'  :D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 25, 2010, 14:17:21
BC,  I think that was my problem.  I enjoyed racing too much and jobs were nothing more than a means to an end.  I retired a little over a week ago.  The house is paid for and I think the financial ducks are all lined up.  I had to scratch the idea of a villa in the south of France though.  Would I do it all over with no changes?  In the blink of an eye!!!  This thread is letting me re-live it and thats about as close as I'll get to doing all over. 

I will admit though that I never for a minute thought I'd be still racing (albiet Bonneville and El Mirage only) and bringing home a couple of these.  But as long as the good Lord lets me I will.

(http://)(http://img812.imageshack.us/img812/5509/img1842g.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2010-12-10
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 26, 2010, 08:01:00
Crazy,

I bow to your / Wikepedia's superior knowledge - I hope my terminal inexactitude didn't spoil the tale.  :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[

Robin, Regal, Kitten ....... I think the results would have been the same ;)

Hey Hoof ......just think how high you can hoist the record next year now you have ALL that extra time !!! ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Dec 26, 2010, 14:58:00
Only reason I know difference is a friend had one, front suspension arm rusted through and wheel keeled over about 30 degrees (and, he had just joined South Wales Constabulary  ;D)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 26, 2010, 18:03:50
The ONLY dealings I had with the 3 wheelers was when my ex. Brother in Law upgraded [ ?? ] from a Messerschmitt  bubble car to a Reliant Van. As he had never driven a "car" before he asked me if I'd drive it back from the dealers.
That was probably the scariest ride I've ever undertaken!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 27, 2010, 03:18:23
My long time friend in Ireland had a Reliant like the one pictured above.  About in the same condition too!  I saw one of these Bond Bugs up close in the early 70s.  For some perverse reason they tickled my fancy. 
 
(http://img641.imageshack.us/img641/3201/bondbug00.jpg)[/img]
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 27, 2010, 09:16:22
I had a "Bond Bug" in the early '70's when I was heavilly involved with Race Cars and Drag Racing in particular.
 
As you can see, my Bug was a little different inasmuch as it had FOUR wheels and a Blown Chrysler Hemi up front!.
 
Actually this pic was taken just before I took ownership and it came without the Chrysler as it had thrown a rod out of the side at the 1000 foot mark, but still managed a sub 8 second run! I replaced the motor with a 4.2 litre Daimler Hemi - the big brother to the 2.5 ltr Daimler Dart motor
 
(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/metronome2.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on Dec 27, 2010, 14:17:04
I had a "Bond Bug" in the early '70's when I was heavilly involved with Race Cars and Drag Racing in particular.
 
As you can see, my Bug was a little different inasmuch as it had FOUR wheels and a Blown Chrysler Hemi up front!.
 
Actually this pic was taken just before I took ownership and it came without the Chrysler as it had thrown a rod out of the side at the 1000 foot mark, but still managed a sub 8 second run! I replaced the motor with a 4.2 litre Daimler Hemi - the big brother to the 2.5 ltr Daimler Dart motor
 

Bejesus! That is some plastic pig TJ

I'm hoping to see my mate who has the Dart engine this week, I'll take my camera and get some shots.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 27, 2010, 21:44:21
Thats some Bug BC!!  I would love to have seen that run.  Short wheelbase altereds always had "unique" handling.  That wheelbase can't be much longer than my sidecar.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 28, 2010, 08:17:20
yes, "interesting" is one word for it !
 
I was impressed as a youff by pictures of Wild Willie Borsch - sideways through the lights with one hand on the wheel , the other bracing himself against the rollbar !
 
Our Comp Altered was in the same vein - the Lawce Bros sold it to us - because it was on the edge of being lunatic - the next car they built had a wheelbase some 20" longer, just before they went to Funny Car.
 
So when I built my 27T naturally it had to have sub 100" wheelbase! It went 8.zeros all day long, but as soon as you tipped the extra gas - 7.9 was a whole new ball game and the 1340 became more like 1500 !
 
However, it's the draw of the extra difficulty afforded by the non conventional - the challenge you set yourself - you know that well Hoof.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Dec 28, 2010, 11:33:59
The ONLY dealings I had with the 3 wheelers was when my ex. Brother in Law upgraded [ ?? ] from a Messerschmitt  bubble car to a Reliant Van. As he had never driven a "car" before he asked me if I'd drive it back from the dealers.
That was probably the scariest ride I've ever undertaken!


 Different friend had a Messerchmitt and a BMW Isetta.
 He was son of local Vicar so got a lot of 'strange' stuff  ;D

Saw in one of your other posts you were around Romford.
 I spent a lot of time in Harlow in early/ mid 80's, well after your time though?
Went to Behind the Vine Rally in Great Bardfield and got to know a bunch of locals so would ride up Friday evenings for weekend parties. (236miles to Lower Shearing, 1hr 48mins on GSX750  ;) )
 Mentioning North Circular reminded me of another 'Fat Mike' story
 Coming home one Sunday, Fat Mike, Beaker (yes, he really did look like a Muppet) and 'Dylan the Bear'
 were on Mikes bike.
 Couple of cops in a Rover SDI saw them and pulled directly across in front of them.
Mike just about stopped with front tyre touching rear passenger door.
 The saw Dylan really was a stuffed bear and drove off laughing, front tyre on door got pulled sideways and Mike, Beaker, Dylan and bike almost hit the ground (bungy throught jacket sleeves and around Beaker so it looked like 3 on a bike)
 Here's Dylan the Bear, he got a pair of Derrie boots few weeks later  ;D
(http://i91.photobucket.com/albums/k315/1crazypj/FoolsRally19803.jpg)

 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on Dec 29, 2010, 13:10:05
As promised, some pictures of a Damlier Dart V8 2.5l hemi lump that my mate has squirreled away for the future. ;D

(http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/Erskine_2006/The%20shed/P1030219.jpg)

(http://i106.photobucket.com/albums/m280/Erskine_2006/The%20shed/P1030218.jpg)

Sorry the second is a bit blurry.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 30, 2010, 10:42:09
Thanx for the pix Erskine.
 
brings back some memories - in 1968 I built a rear engined Dragster using one of those motors which ran through a modified Overdrive from a 3.8 Jag giving me a clutchless change two speed - ahead of my time or what !!
 
Crazy - yep ONLY in the day .........
 
I seem to recall a period when "pillion bears" were all the rage.
 
I guess you heard about the looney who rode round the M25 [ orbital ring road - London ] last year blitzing through 5 speed cameras [ mounted every 1 mile or so ] - stark bollock naked with an inflated love doll on the back ! Needless to say his number plate was covered..........
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 31, 2010, 06:30:21
Originally I didn't think this was worth the telling - but it IS bike related [ sort of ] and several folk have responded positively, so I've dragged it over from another non-related thread.
 
 Mini story coming up - should be in BC's Tales - but hey ho it's only a little one [ as the actress said to the Archbishop ].
 
In the late 70's I operated a successful Muscle car / American Speed Shop in Birmingham. My toy at the time was a production race prepared Laverda Jota - complete with 3 into 1 and mini megga - completely sans baffles !
 
Anyway, out for a Sunday run with the then Mrs. B [ 2nd ] and we stopped at a rather snooty country pub for some lunch.
 
As we walked through the door you could almost hear the gasps of the patrons and the maitre d came rushing over to inform us that the pub "didn't serve motorcyclists" - that was before we even had chance to take our crash helmets off.
 
10 years earlier and I'd have been asking him to pick a window, but I decided on the "don't get mad, get even" approach. So off home - after creating a godawful noise at the pub revving the Jota to 7K as we left and spraying gravel from the drive all up his windows.
 
An hour later - showered and changed into Jacques Desch' best and Mrs. B looking absolutely stunning - back to the pub in our 1970 Boss Mustang. The maitre D rushed out into the car park to greet us and ushered us in to one of his best tables.
 
We then ordered a Chateaubriand and no starter and said we were quite prepared to wait. We had a few drinks while we were waiting and the M'd came out a few times fawning on us and telling us the meal wouldn't be long. When we felt enough time had elapsed we got up and I placed £10 on the bar to cover our drinks and walked out with the words - "Oh sorry, I just remembered you don't serve motorcyclists here"........................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jan 14, 2011, 02:26:49
Anything new for the new year?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 14, 2011, 06:36:20
Hell yea Rat ................
 
the coincidental contact I had after 30 odd years with the subject of the "Absent Wife....etc." tale contacted me after a random posting on a Nostalgia Drag Race site after I was trying to track down some pix of my "Metronome" Comp Altered. ! How's that - spooky or what.
 
So - that's the first one for the telling and I will state now you will find it hard to believe, but as ever with these tales - I was there or involved.
 
I haven't told the guy about my "tales" and his name will be changed. HOWEVER, he did say "do you remember when ......." about the incident.
 
I guess in the next week or two. There's also some others that are woth the telling - maybe another 5-6, I'll spread them out as my intention is to encourage others to come up with some tales.
 
I'll revamp the "Fishing for Gold Stars" tale - with apologies to anyone who saw it on another thread.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 18, 2011, 09:17:39
OK - "The Absent Wife, Bungalow and Mechanical Digger" tale coming up next week.
 
Even though I say this myself - it is unbelievable and truly "of the day". I was actually involved in this, although it mainly concerns someone else as the main man in this one.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 19, 2011, 11:22:44
Well here it is ..........................
 
BEACHCOMBERS TALES FROM THE DAY

“The Absent Wife, the Bungalow and the Mechanical Digger”

Just by way of explanation, a Bungalow – more correctly Cottage Bungalow [ UK ] is a single storey brick built dwelling, usually with doorway in the middle with rooms either side [ usually lounge and dining room ], with kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms at the rear. The one in this tale is exactly like that – but think quaint old English Rose covered cottage. Usually these buildings had a “bow” window for each of the front rooms either side of the main door. Again, as this one.

The subject of this tale is – let’s call him “Dave”, a bit of a wild child bordering on the edge of legality. If you wanted some concrete for your yard – a call to Dave would result in a Cement mixer lorry turning up and dumping it’s load. Or you needed some Walnut panelling for your study – maybe 10 sheets or so – you’d come home from work to find a lorry load – maybe 100 sheets on your front lawn. Not one to do things by half our Dave. And everything was “a drink” [ £20 or so ]. Nobody asked where the goods came from – that was the deal in those days.

So, poor old Dave had a tempestuous relationship with his Wife [ childhood sweetheart ] but they had survived long enough [ still together ! ] to raise two little brats – err, children. Dave had worked hard to get the money together to get a down payment on this quaint old English Bungalow. So quaint, it had no garage – but with Dave’s contacts that was only a matter of time – and opportunity.

This story took place in Dave’s transition period – from bikes to Hot Rods – still had bikes [ Gold Star and Matchless CSR ], but in the late 60’s our interests generally had focused on 4 wheels.

So what kicked this episode off? Well Dave wanted to buy a Ford Pop [ Anglia ] and drop a Rover [ nee Buick ] 215ci V8 and Auto Trans in it. Jag IRS and Vauxhall Viva front end. That was almost a fixed menu for Pops in those early days. No problems there then. However, Mrs. Dave wanted a holiday in Majorca. Oh oh – recipe for another up and downer.

Mrs. Dave made the fatal mistake of telling Dave “it’s the Pop or me”.
So later that week I delivered the Pop to Dave’s front garden – and the next day [ Saturday ] Mrs. Dave fucked off to Majorca – only for a holiday, but you never knew with her.

So Sunday Dave called us all round for a project meeting – making plans for the Pop and where we were going to gather all the parts from. Anyway a few crates of beer later and we had plenty of ideas – and Dave was busy ringing round to try to arrange for concrete for a garage base, a pre-cast building, wiring, etc, etc.

Sod’s Law, all his contacts came up dry – and let’s face it time’s a wasting. We were all sat round in his lounge – in front of a roaring log fire [ it was Winter ] pondering what to do ………………………….

Then I made a fatal suggestion – albeit in jest – “What’s wrong with this room – you never use it”. The time was 11.00 am.

By mid-day measurements had been taken – the bow window checked to ensure it had a steel joist over it and a call had gone out to carpenters, brickies – oh yea, and a pal who had access to a mechanical digger. Actually the digger belonged to his company and being a Sunday was in the company compound. No probs – matey had a key and an hour later the digger was in the front garden complete with rolls of electric cable, bricks, bags of sand and cement and odd lengths of timber in the digger’s front bucket.

By 3 o’clock the front window was sitting on the front lawn and the brickwork below the window removed. The lounge was rapidly cleared of what furniture was left and the carpet was about to be taken out, when Dave thought –“Balls, might as well have a bit of comfort” – so left it in.

The Pop was rolled into the lounge, and while some of the guys started pulling it apart, others carried on with the modifications to the bungalow.

We had a brilliant idea of cutting the windows vertically in the middle and hingeing them on the outside wall so they opened for an access door. That just left the matter of the missing brickwork under the window. Another brilliant idea – we used a timber frame and clapboards – hinged with the windows so they opened as one.
So put matching clapboard under the other window to even it up and – Robert’s your Pater’s Sibling [ Bob’s your Uncle ]. The last 3 hours were carried out under the digger’s worklights – but by close of play looking at the bungalow, you’d never know – especially as we had arranged to leave the net curtains on the windows !

By that time, all the panels were off the Pop and all the original running gear was out and on the front lawn.

Did it end there? - No. The following day the team turned up and gave the bungalow the finishing touches and a coat of paint and you really would not have had any idea of what was in the lounge – or how it got there!

Mrs. Dave got back from Majorca 2 weeks later, ready to forgive Dave for buying the Pop……………………………I think it was 2 months before she set foot in the bungalow again, and a year before she forgave him.

By pure coincidence I spoke to Dave [ after 30 odd years ] a couple of weeks ago – we had a good laugh about the “old days” and the bungalow job. When they sold the bungalow 4 years later, it still had the “opening” front windows, although the lounge had been refurbished to again become a living area.
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Jan 19, 2011, 15:04:17
So what became of the "Pop"? Did he finish it off in the lounge, then tear open the bungalo to remove it, then restore it all back to lounge?

This sounds similar to what some of my friends and myself would have done!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 19, 2011, 17:26:07
So what became of the "Pop"? Did he finish it off in the lounge, then tear open the bungalo to remove it, then restore it all back to lounge?

This sounds similar to what some of my friends and myself would have done!

Not only was the Pop finished off in the lounge, but went on to take some top honours at several shows - it was known laughingly as the "Lounge Pop".

The whole window assembly was rigged to be like a full size door, split down the middle. You unlocked it from the inside and the two halves swung out open, complete with windows, curtains and flower vases on the shelf!

Not only was the Pop built in there, but a later a Pop Van and 2 bikes !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jan 22, 2011, 03:17:49
If I may,
 
 
I was on an exercise about a year and a half ago in Mountain Home AFB Idaho. A few of us had gotten word about some motorcycle hill climbing out west of Boise called "The Big Nasty" http://www.bignastyhillclimb.com/index1.html (http://www.bignastyhillclimb.com/index1.html) (remeber that name...) so being bikers we went togther in the same car and headed out. This was the first day and we had NO idea where we were going aside from a few random signs on the highway.
 
Now before I get too in to this story, the guys I were with are the kinda guys you sit around the BBQ/ fire pit at night and listen to theyre stories togther, the kind of stories you think to your self "you guys are soooo full of shit" but never say it to be polite.
 
Now I think we were somewhere around Star when we had no clue where we were for the first time. We stopped at some country home off a back road because we saw a chopper in the drive way and thought they might know where to go for bike racing. Brown and I stayed in the car while Kev stepped out to ask. Kev introduced him self, had a VERY quick conversation and promptley came back to the car and we left without fucking around. Kev was saying the guy asked who we were and we wanted. When kev told him the guy said "I will tell you, but you get out of here NOW..." OK, we got out of there NOW. Dont know what was going on but probibaly wasent healthy for us to hang around.
 
Next, we are around Middleton going down one of the main roads and hadent seen a sign for a while. Law of "Shot gun" say you call it first, you get it. I was in the back seat. Again lost we pulled over to the curb (Raised your standard height with grass) to the first person we saw who looked remotley like he might care about motorcycles. Remeber what the races were called? And remeber, I'm in the back passangers side seat for this... We pull over to the right, Brown rolls down his window and says "Excuse me Sir, Were looking for The Big Nasty, Can you help us?" This guy looked like your classic red neck, ripped dirty jeans, big belt buckle, missing half of his finger... And he says as he puts his hands in his jeans pockets and stants real close to the window in the voice of the kinda guy you are scared to spend a night in a jail cell with "He he he hee Big Nasty, Huh!?" At that point I was thinking Oh god, hes gonna whip it out on us! When he asked who we were and where we came from, I think it helped that were from out of country and if we werent, we could have gotten more then we bargened for. He told us and again we were promptley on our way!
 
We found it shortley later.
 
 
The next day we left early for a full day of racing and planned on breakfast in Boise. I was in the mood for a Waffle, Brown wanted pancakes and Kev wanted Bacon and eggs. We decided "International House Of Pancakes" was the place to go. A few highway signs, stops for directions and we passed a sign that said IHOP, I remeber saying "IHOP, thats nice, wheres the International House Of Pancakes... Hey, turn around, I think thats it"
 
Some people shit just happend around, these guys... Shit happens around!
 
Thats my story...
 
On a side note, Theme nights at the Boise Hooters... School Girls, Foot Ball and Animals... Oh My!
 
 
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 22, 2011, 06:11:58
Hey Rat - keep 'em coming.
 
Hoof where are you mate? Missing your input - hope everything's OK and you're not spending too much time with that chair for an extra mile an hour or 5 .
 
There WILL be an late tale - actually not of the day [ 30 years ago ], but involving the current Mrs. B, my Jota a World Powerboat meeting and a handbag.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jan 22, 2011, 13:11:13
Hey BC.  Thats what I've been doing.  Kind of a long story.  Last year at Bonneville a friend showed up figuring you just run your bike and go home with a record in your pocket.  It was his first time there and Bonneville has a habit of making your first visit a rough one.  His was and he left vowing to return and make amends.  We've been e-mailing back and forth.  Well, A week or so ago he tells me he bought a 650 Triumph and plans to add a sidecar and go after the 650 sidecar records.  I have been accumulating parts to make a 545cc Weslake to do exactly the same thing!
 
I don't want to run in the same clas as him so I have been searching for a small turbo so I can run in the blown 500 class.  That and designing a Bonneville T shirt.  Which is mercifully done and gone for final set up.  I'll be back to normal in a day or two.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: jackstraw650 on Jan 24, 2011, 11:22:29
Just finished reading the entire thread.  Great stories and thanks to all who contributed!  Brought back memories of what I was up to in those "halcyon days of yesteryear."  As I turned 60 this past year, I guess this is the beginning of that never ending slide into old fartdom.  My tales from then would usually involve freaks,[hippies]bikes, protest and involvements with the local constabulary of a large southern town that contained the institution of higher learning that I was attending at the time.  Interesting times, those!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 25, 2011, 07:08:00
I enjoyed the Hippy times - as an interloper.
 
There was a real big scene in Romford in those days - and the only passport you needed to get into one of the "free love" parties was a Kaftan, your love beads a generous splash of Patchuli and long hair [ which I had].
 
A bit like a single bloke at a Wife swapping party - a grin from ear to ear.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 01, 2011, 09:16:42
Following on from "Dangerous Roy & the Manx", there's one more story involving Dangerous Roy worth the telling - "Dangerous Roy, the sidecar and the Cemetary". 8)
Coming up in the next week or so ...................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 02, 2011, 08:37:35
Here we are guys, the second of the Tales involving Dangerous Roy ......
 
Beachcomber’s – Tales from the Day - Feb 2011

“Dangerous Roy, the Sidecar and the Cemetery”

This is the second of the tales involving Dangerous Roy that we met in the story of the Manx Engine. This took place about 6 months after that incident, after Roy’s Dad had given me Roy’s RE Crusader and bought him a car.

Although Roy was effectively banned from having a bike by his Dad, he still wanted to maintain his friendship with the old crowd. Roy was a bit of an enigma – Mod by day at work and in the evenings, but he still hung around with us bikers. He was one of the rarities amongst our crowd in that he actually enjoyed being a pillion passenger – at least he was safer that way!

Anyway – the tale. In those days if you hitched a sidecar to your bike you immediately qualified for a 50% insurance discount, and as a learner you could scare 2 passengers to death rather than just one. Those of you that have ridden a chair outfit will know it’s not just a case of leaping on and away into the wild blue yonder. It also meant that you could have a much larger capacity bike for the same insurance as a tiddler. I’m not certain that the insurance companies had this in mind when they offered the 50% discount – I think they were looking at the married bloke with kids who couldn’t yet afford or maybe even had  driver licence for a small car.  Of course a lot of the lads then took the sidecar back off, but still maintaining the 50% insurance discount!

So when my pal Maurice decided that he wanted to upgrade his B31 [ 350cc] to a Road Rocket, the answer was to put a chair on the plot to reduce the insurance [ as he was a new rider ]. We found a suitable single sports chair [ Monza ] and duly set about arranging to get the chair hitched up. This is where Roy became involved in the plot, as he had a car and could easily run around to get the relevant lumps of metal and bracketery to attach the chair to the bike. In those days it was simply a matter of attaching clamps round the front down tube, bottom rail and usually picking up on the footrest hanger. These were just like small scaffolding clamps – very agricultural – but did the job. Amongst our mob were a couple of sidecar demons – one guy [ John Barker ?] went on to be something of an Isle of Man specialist. These guys volunteered their help in the black art of alignment, wheel lead, trail, toe and all sorts of things that didn’t apply to a solo. By about mid-day the alignment was to everyone’s satisfaction – so Roy volunteered to take us all to the local pub for a pint and a pie. Uncharacteristically we had more than a pint or 3 – something we normally would not have done when riding – and spent a pleasant 3 hours in the pub shooting the breeze. Eventually we all rolled back to Maury’s house to take the chair for a run. BTW – all the work was carried out in the roadway as he didn’t have a workshop.

So a little later and we’re all ready for a test run – everyone had gone of home by this time just leaving Maury, myself and Roy.

Roy was “volunteered” to go in the chair, whilst I rode pillion. We decided to go up to the famous “Wantz” bends – again, from the Roy and the Manx tale. The reasoning was that we could try out the bends there with Roy leaning out of the chair and acting as ballast whilst Maury did Max Deubel impressions.

The first couple of miles went without incident, but there were a couple of wobbles, which we put down to the fact that Maury had never ridden a chair outfit before. The first of the Wantz bends was taken in real Banzai fashion with a lurid 3 wheel drift which impressed us no end. Maury was screaming something incoherent whilst we were whooping and hollering encouragement to go faster for the next set of “S” bends [ “esses” ].

Well as he made no attempt to slow – we assumed he was really going for it. The second part of the bend was a right hander – after the same 3 wheel drift at full speed on the left hand element of the bend we were really in the zone – I was leaning as far to the right as I could and Roy was actually standing up in the chair leaning over the pillion seat between Maury and myself. Maury was still yelling “Hold on, hold on” – which we took as encouragement – however as we got to the apex of the bend, instead of a controlled drift round the right hander – we simply ploughed straight on at undiminished speed ………………………

Fortunately on the outside of the bend was an unmade road that led to the local Cemetery – so off went the outfit, with arms and legs everywhere. It was only then that we noticed that the chair and the bike were much closer together, and at a very steep vertical angle – certainly NOT the 5 degrees we had set. The bike eventually slewed sideways catapulting Roy off and into a muddy ditch at the side of the track.

After we spent the next 10 minutes or so telling Maury what we thought of his driving – we looked at the outfit to realise that the front mounts had completely undone themselves and the whole thing was only held on by the rear footrest mount. The reason for Maury’s speed into the bends also became apparent – as both the sidecar and rear brake [ the two main brakes for a chair ] had become detached along with the clamps. That’s also why Maury was screaming “Hold on” as he was totally certain he wasn’t going to make the bends!

Yes, in our best Monty Python style we were so chuffed with our efforts to align the chair precisely – we had forgotten to tighten any of the clamps up before we went to the pub – and went completely out of our minds when we returned! 

Fortunately none of the clamps had actually gone awol, so it was a pretty simple task to put them back in place and then tighten them up ! All this done on an unmade track, and with no means of aligning the outfit – other than by eye. Funny thing was when we eventually got back and checked – it was so close that we didn’t need to alter it at all. The only damage to the outfit was slightly scuffed paint on the frame tubes and a buggered sidecar brake cable.

Roy ………………….. yes minor cuts and bruises, but sad to say that yet again one of his Winkle Pickers would be picking no Winkles for the foreseeable. His Best Mod suit was also ripped and caked in mud – that’s Roy.

I have NO idea how he might have explained his accident to his ever suffering Father, however suffice it to say that although Roy continued to ride pillion with us – he NEVER again went in an outfit !
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: VonYinzer on Feb 02, 2011, 11:09:51
Ha! Thats great!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: redlinedave on Feb 04, 2011, 22:22:29
Love this thread!
Roy should have worn his Rocker gear when out with you lot
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: redlinedave on Feb 04, 2011, 22:45:14
I can relate to Roy
I love the Mod look and music , even the scooters but you cant beat how it feels
to be on a bike
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 05, 2011, 01:11:56
Good laugh!!!  I can relate to that as I had a Watsonian Monza hooked up to a Triton in the 70s.  Turned it over into a ditch with my Dad in the chair.  But thats another story and pales into insignificance compared to Dad (in his teens)spearing his younger brother on a wrought iron fence as he looped a sidecar trying to get it home in a hurry before his dad saw them.  The mod and rocker gear is funny.  When I went over to Ireland in 1967 I got a job with a small engineering suppliers.  We were expected to wear a white shirt and tie to work.  I can rememberoutting on a nice white shirt and tie then all the rocker gear for the ride to work.  Cool thing was the boss (tweed jacket, cavalry twill pants, RAF mustache and pipe) didn't care what you looked like outside work.  But inside you better have that tie on.
 
(http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/5324/img110vc3.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 15, 2011, 07:43:12
Just writing up the Tale for March -
 
"Two Inter engines, half a Manx engine, an Isetta bubble car and a wheelbarrow".
 
Not sure what you guys call a wheelbarrow - a single wheeled container for building / gardening work pushed with 2 handles at the rear.
 
This tale came about after I was sitting on the roadside outside my Gran's house in the pissing rain with the light from a torch fitting the Manx engine from the "Roy and the Manx engine" tale.
Here's one -
 
(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/1252421947_408567hbo111111x.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Feb 15, 2011, 09:04:09
yep, that's a wheelbarrow where I come from, but then we still have the queen on our money :-)

Cheers,  looking forward to the tale,

Maritime
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Feb 15, 2011, 09:20:07
We have dead Presidents and one dude that never made it to President but was a hell of a patriot and ambassador to our country on our money, and we call it a wheelbarrow too!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Feb 16, 2011, 12:41:30
We have dead Presidents and one dude that never made it to President but was a hell of a patriot and ambassador to our country on our money, and we call it a wheelbarrow too!

We call people like that Rebels.

God save the Queen!




(jk all)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 21, 2011, 23:56:05
I'm  not sure if this fits this thread but I'll throw them up here for the hell of it.  My wife was cleaning out the closet in the spare room.  She found some negatives in some papers so I went and got them developed to see what they were.  Turns out they were from a road race at Faugheen, Tipperary in 1975.  The first (fuzzy) is on the start line waiting.  Coming out onto the straight and the third shot is the long suffering better half getting some food ready.  It looks like spaghetti and meatballs.  Probably as it seems to be the staple diet at race meetings.  We had spaghetti and meatballs at Bonneville this year.  Poverty level racing doesn't change much.  The Garelli had a Minarelli cylinder fitted.  Made it fly.  Revved to 12,000 and the crank life could measured in minutes.
 
(http://img8.imageshack.us/img8/1882/img176zw.jpg)[/img]
 
(http://img265.imageshack.us/img265/9929/img177b.jpg)[/img]
 
(http://img225.imageshack.us/img225/4276/img175l.jpg)[/img]
 
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 25, 2011, 08:15:31
Just putting the finishing touches to the "Two Manx engines ..............." tale - will be here in the next 24 hours or so.
 
I'm also refreshing the "Fishing for Gold Stars" tale as it was originally poted ...somewhere where I can't find it!
 
Swan - you should read that one given your superb rebuild thread. It WILL make you weep ............
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: redlinedave on Feb 27, 2011, 02:53:34
hurry up, love your tales
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 27, 2011, 08:16:20
Wait no longer Dave .......... 8)
 
Here it is then, the latest tale. I am revamping the "Fishing for Gold Stars" tale, as I found the original shortened version on another thread, so I don't think that will spoil the effect. :D :D
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – March 2011

“The Two Inter Norton Engines, Half a Manx Engine, an Isetta Bubble car and a Wheelbarrow”

(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/untitled.jpg)
 
This is a gentle tale, no rib tickling black humour with people being nearly killed or maimed – just shows what a pleasant era the Sixties was to live through.

So …….. Roy’s still in hospital and I’m busy fitting the Manx engine into my rolling chassis. I had no workshop, garage or even shed during this period – living with my Nan in a terraced house in Dagenham [ English home of Henry ]. If I needed to work on something mechanical, if it was small enough to carry through the house and into the back garden, then that was it. If it rained sometimes my Nan would take pity on me and let me use the kitchen table as a workbench. Even the tiny front garden was pretty inaccessible – so most of my work was carried out on the pavement [ sidewalk ] outside my Nan’s. This was not as bad as it seemed as we had a streetlamp almost outside allowing me to work after dark, and a storm drain grating in the gutter – which was ideal for draining engine / trans oil down [ environment – what environment !  ]

So this particular session went into the evening darkness as I wanted to get the bike on the road for the following night’s antics up the Bye-Pass and to protect the [ at the time ] Crown of having the fastest bike up there. Just to add to my deep joy, the torch I was using gave up the ghost AND it started to piss down with rain. The long suffering next door neighbour came home from work and took pity on me and loaned me his 12v extension lamp and the use of his car’s battery. I then rigged up a cover from some tarpaulin and old tent poles and carried on working. Bear in mind that the road I lived in was quite busy with both vehicles and pedestrians – so it was quite a bizarre sight! The main cause of my frustration was that I had to set the cam verniers [ wot a laugh a minute eh Hoof !]. I had to do all this without the aid of a manual, and learning as I went along and using my engineering logic. In retrospect this is no doubt why I had previously clipped so many inlet valves.

Several bikes and cars went by with drivers waving and shouting encouragement, but one guy in an Isetta Bubble car made 2 or three passes before eventually stopping. I guessed that he had stopped to give me a bollocking for taking up half the pavement, but no – he came over and asked if I was having trouble with the engine, and could he help. This guy was not your typical biker, in fact he was more like the original 7 stone weakling accountant / banker / clerk. Anyway, it soon became obvious that he knew his way around the Manx engine and soon had the cams set AND he stayed until the job was finished.

My Nan did her usual sterling job of keeping me going with coffee [ not a tea bagger me ] and buttered toast and extended the courtesy to my new found mate. While we were sitting over a coffee, he asked me if I would be interested in some International Norton engines and odd gearboxes and various spares that he no longer needed. I think my financial status was probably obvious from the fact I was working outside in the pissing rain and said I would have to decline as I couldn’t afford to buy the stuff – much as I would have liked to have it.

“No need for money” he said “Anyone who is as enthusiastic as you to work under these conditions deserves a break”.

With that, I naturally said how could I refuse such an offer, and the whizzed [ or was that “wheezed”] our way to his house in his little Bubble car. For those of you not familiar with this Microcar – it had a single opening door hinged on the front and the driver and passenger sort of clambered into the seats around the steering column. His house was only 10 minutes round the corner – albeit in the “posh” part of Dagenham  – with semi-detached houses no less. He took me into a fully lit [ and bone dry ] garage which was fully equipped with all manner of machinery, welders and such. He raised a tarpaulin in the back of the garage and there was a pristine AJS 7R! I nearly came on the spot. Still the guy looked like no racer and when I asked the obvious question, it transpired that he had built the bike up for Tom Kirby – who became well known as a privateer entrant [ Bill Ivy amongst others ]. Just as a slight diversion – I went on to become friendly with Tom and ended up with many of his “leftovers” – usually for nothing or close to. What was an amazing sight was to see his workshop manager riding his Aerial Golden Arrow – he only had one arm ! Tom built a very trick Triumph 350 [ Tiger 90 ] to campaign on the Island [ remember that one Hoof?] It used a lot of Titanium and other exotic materials. Never had the success it deserved and after a couple of Island outings it was backburnered. Not before I ended up with some very trick bits for my reversed head Triumph 350 Sprint Bike !
Digression over ………………….

Under another tarpaulin were half a dozen engines neatly stacked – mostly of Norton persuasion. It transpired that he was in the process of switching over his tuning / building skills from the Norton marque to AJS and Matchless [ specifically for Tom Kirby ].

He then indicated which engines I should pull out from the stack and put on one side – Two Inter engines and Half a Manx. [ bottom end.] There were also 2 boxes of assorted valves, springs, con rods, 2 gearboxes and odds. It was about this time that I just happened to mention that I didn’t own a car or van! It was also just as obvious all this lot couldn’t go in his little Isetta…………….


Then it was one of those light bulb moments – “Could I borrow that wheelbarrow I saw in the garden?” By now it was nearly midnight – still pissing with rain but I was so happy with my haul I could have cared less.

Just on the last trip and who should show up but local plod – on his bicycle. “Allo. Allo, Allo, what’s all this then” asks Sherlock. “Just been down the allotment [ public gardens where you could produce veg / flowers ] to do a bit of weeding / clearing up” says I. With that, he looks in the wheelbarrow, shakes his head and rides off without saying a word……..

Three trips [ 2 miles each trip ], and I finally had all my swag back at my Nan’s [ boy wasn’t she happy! ] and traipsed it all through the house into the back garden under yet more tarpaulins.

About this time I had really fallen in lust with the Constellations – very underrated and because of that – cheap, as nobody wanted them! Well in the Café Racer society anyway.

It was also obvious that my various Nortons [ Manx and Inter ] were no match for the faster bikes up the Lay Bye, so one of the Inter engines and some spares were swapped for the ex. Bob McIntyre Thruxton Connie. Although this was already a race bike [ Production ] – apart from a very quick engine which was blueprinted along with the gearbox for maximum efficiency, it was otherwise a standard looking road bike. That didn’t last long ………
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: enur19 on Feb 27, 2011, 09:41:19
Awesome story BC, I have often dreamt about just that happening to me :) (only with other bikes/engines ;) )
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 2vfairmont on Feb 27, 2011, 12:09:01
Another awesome story, Beachcomber. Loving them all so far. Haha, the old Isetta's - don't forget that as well as having a door on the front, they don't have a reverse gear, which can provide lots of laughs when someone pulls into a shed/garage/against a wall etc. and realises they are trapped in until someone pushes them backwards.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: redlinedave on Feb 27, 2011, 14:03:34
keep em coming
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 27, 2011, 15:24:59
Stories like that are hard to believe nowadays.  But having been there I can attest to its truth.  When I went to Ireland in 1967 I lived with an uncle and aunt.  Their tiny garage was packed out to the door so the Norton lived outside and any work done to it was also done outside.  The mention of a tarp brings back vivid memories.  The garage door had two small windows.  I ran a couple of long screws into the lip and hung the tarp from themand a string out to the streetlamp.  I stumbled across an article on cam timing for Inters and Manx.  It included detailed instructions for vernier settings and made me feel like a master tuner! 

But I've never had the good fortune to run into anyone with a load of Inter or Manx bits they want to give away.  The closest I got to that was a friend who was a Velo freak (Tony D'Arcy) who's house was literally filled with Velos.  The last time I was there I counted 14 Velos between the front room, living room, dining room and kitchen.  He had found a pre-war Inter engine and sold it to me for 10/-. 

Great story BC.  I'm still giggling at the vision I have of you running back and forth in the middle of the night with a wheelbarrow full of engine bits!!   
 
P.S.  BC,  After I moved out of my uncle's place I found myself in a one bed, shared ktchen/bathroom flat.  The road going Manx got built in relative luxury!  The BRS at the bottom of the photo was a bit of a joke.  As you know Nortons made BRS models in the 20s.  Stood for Brooklands Racing Special.  Mine stood for Bedroom Racing Special.
 
(http://img12.imageshack.us/img12/5166/img037ur.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 28, 2011, 07:13:37
It's all your fault Hoof - until you started posting your "pix from the day" I had all but forgotten the first Mrs.B. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
I had literally 1000's of pix from the era. I was a keen photographer along with my then Brother in Law. About the only usefull thing Mrs.B #1 did [ apart from providing me with a beautiful Daughter ] was to work at Ilford films - the poor brother to Kodak.
 
As Kodak was renowned fo it's colour films, Ilford was master of the Black and White. But by some anomoly the Kodak colour patent [ maybe a US vs Uk thing?] had to renewed every year, and took 48 hours to renew. During that period every year Ilford banged out as many films [ 35mm ] to the Kodak formula as they could! Naturally the staff got first dibbs on these and the staff rate at the time for a 36 image 35 mm film was something lunatic like 10 pence [ black and white was 5 pence ] - a couple of cents. I used to get £2's worth for me and my brother in law EVERY WEEK. This also included the reverse film for colour slides AND for some peculiar reason, that price included processing and mounting!
 
Yes, 1000's of images - all went up in flames when Beachcomber and Mrs.B the second drove off into the sunset.............
 
Strange thing is I can still vividly see these images in my head. There's one that I really would give a testicle or two for was of me on my Connie at Brands passing [ yes really ] Derek Minter on his 350 Manx going into Clearways.......... Now they say a picture never lies .... Well in this instance, yes I did honestly pass Minter going into Clearways - good job it wasn't a movie otherwise you'd have seen the overenthusiastic Beachcomber - arms and legs flailing in all directions on the grass on the outside - heading for what was in those days great big fuck off railway sleepers [ health and safety where where you then ??]. The amazing thing was that I managed to stay aboard, right up to the point the bike stopped and then I gradually and gently toppled over! Yes, I was no real loss to circuit racing ! 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: swan on Feb 28, 2011, 08:35:48
B,


Thank you so much for these wonderful tales! I just stumbled into this thread , looked for "Fishing for Gold Stars" but cannot find it !?!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 28, 2011, 12:19:43
Hey Swan, glad you liked 'em. I've had a ball reliving them in my mind. ;)
 
Now then, the original "Fishing for Gold Stars" was only a taster in a totally different thread. As a result of that little tale I had people contacting me asking for more tales - that's where we're at. 8)
 
Rather than spoil it for you - I'm half way through building the story into a fuller version as the others and I'll post it sooner rather than later. I had originally intended to something like 1 a month so as not to bore the ass of people.
 
I can tell you it was a real hoot at the time and like all the tales - brings back to mind some of the fantastic mates I had back then. It's almost like therapy !!!!!
 
As you know I had several Goldies back then, and there is another story involving a pal's Goldie - "How to Tow a Gold Star" ......................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 28, 2011, 13:23:57
Sorry I remind you of the first Mrs. B!!!   If thats the case you are a braver man than me for marrying her!!!   I only have a few photos from the period as I was on the other end of the spectrum.  Photos were expensive for the average Joe.  So they were not taken lightly.  Sorry I always wanted to use that phrase in a reference to photography.   I only have a few photos of the period.  You are right!  "It was a hoot at the time."  So many things have changed and not all for th better.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Mar 01, 2011, 00:09:26
Yeah Hoof, the wife and I were talking the other day. And we wish we had taken a lot more photos back when. At the time you think,"No big deal, we do this all the time, we'll take pics next time."
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 01, 2011, 01:00:03
Yeah  its funny.  At the time photos were a luxury. In my early teens here in SoCal I used to go to the various dragstrips we had here nearly every weekend.  But we were always broke.  I had an old Brownie box camera and Dennis and I would split the cost of a roll of film and developing.  I'd take 8 photos and he'd take 8 photos.
 
When I went over to Ireland things were a lot more expensive.  So taking photos was something done with care.  Had I known that that era would be of interest 40 years later I'd have taken a lot more.  And true, we didn't think of it as a "big deal"  I've often thought of puting up the photos I have but I never thought therewould be any interest.  Maybe there would.
 
A former racing buddy put some photos up on facebook.  This one I found evocative.  Its the Dunboyne road course.  A fantastic place to race now unfortunately destroyed by urban developement and a freeway.
 
(http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/5444/18361219676271368127810.jpg)[/img]
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 01, 2011, 09:46:19
I'd fully intended to spread these tales out so other folk could join in, but this one's especially for Swan ..................................
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day. 1st March 2011 [ happy Birthday to me, happy birthday to me ………………….]

“Fishing for Gold Stars”.

Like all the other tales, this one is as it happened and is first hand, as I was that Fisherman!

As you may now know by now, the “Blinking Owl” was one of our favourite Caffs – tucked away in beautiful countryside in rural Essex. It was only a 20 minute hard ride from the Lay Bye and another popular Caff - “Ted’s” on the Southend Arterial road at Gallows Corner. And yes, it was the site in the 17th and 18th centuries of a hanging gallows.

Once you were off and away from the Lay Bye and the Arterial, you were almost immediately into countryside, with mile after mile of glorious swinging bends. The bonus was that they were very quiet roads, and in the evenings [ apart from Harvest time ] free from tractors and farm implements. A lack of street lamps was also handy as at night you could see well ahead if there was any oncoming traffic and take liberties with “correct” lines on apexes. 8)

The Owl was also a hotbed of rogues – you could always find a part for your bike as long as you didn’t enquire as to it’s origin ! One guy made a business of driving around various Caffs in the area and literally taking orders for parts. Usually late desirable stuff, like Bonnies, Goldies, and such. Yes we knew it was wrong, and yes, we should have reported him to the old Bill and YES we shouldn’t have encouraged him by buying parts from him – but who’s perfect eh? Our only defence was that late model bikes were always insured ……………………..

OK, base picture painted. On this particular evening he was touting Goldie parts – and even had the exact spec of what was obviously 2 bikes – a 350 and a 500. Nothing if not industrious, this guy would “obtain” the bikes and whizz them into the back of his old Thames Trader van and 2 of his mates would be busy stripping them down as he made his rounds to the “buyers” at the various Caffs.

Anyway, it became obvious that his antics were not unknown to the Old Bill, and on this particular evening as he pulled into the Owl car park, two Zed cars with Essex’s finest screeched in behind him. However in their zeal, they had omitted to note that the car park was mostly gravel [ caught a few bikers out as well ] and were travelling way too fast. In true Monty Python style the first plod car ploughed straight on through the gravel when he hit the brakes, demolishing an Ajay CSR and a BMW R65 outfit [ with Steib chair]. :o The second car managed to avoid the carnage, but only succeeded in slamming into the wooden veranda at the front of the Caff, bringing down part of the lean to roof. One of the guys who was sat on the Beemer and his girlfriend in the chair were slightly injured with the whole outfit pushed on it’s side. Whilst all this was going on, matey in the Thames roared out the other side of the car park spraying even more gravel everywhere. Just as we thought he’d had it away on his toes, another two police vans pulled into the Owl. After some rapidly shouted instructions from the Zed car boys [ cars now totally immoveable ] the two vans set off in pursuit of the Thames van with the Goldies aboard.

We later heard that he had managed to outrun plod and dumped the Goldies off over the side of Passingford Bridge into the river below some 3 miles from the Caff.

Now I’d never be involved in deliberately stealing a bike, but I reasoned what if I simply collected a bike that had already been stolen? ;) ;)

So, a couple of nights later [ 3 am in the morning in fact! ] my mate Joe and myself went off to Passingford Bridge in his works Bedford van, armed with a big grappling hook and a length of heavy rope. The Owl always turned out by 2 am, so we thought we’d be pretty safe from any passing traffic at this unearthly hour. We’d made several passes on one side of the bridge without any luck and had just started casting the hook on the other side when up rides plod and he had actually stopped and got off his bike before we even realised he was there - LE Velocettes eh?. Oh fuck.

“What are we up to here then lads” asks Sherlock ……Fortunately for us we had no joy in finding the Goldie, so there was no actual evidence of wrong doing. “Ahh, just doing a spot of fishing” says the optimistic Beachcomber, pointing to the length of rope over the side of the bridge. “At 3 in the morning” enquires plod. “Yes we got carried away – you know  what it’s like, my mate here had to work until 10 pm last night and has had no supper” . With one of those sarcastic smirks on his mush he says - “So let’s see what tackle you’re using” and with that we have no choice but to bring up the GBFO grappling hook on the end of the rope. “Ahhha, there’s your problem” he says “far too big for anything in this river, AND you’ve got no bloody bait on the hooks”. With frighteningly realistic horror BC commented -  “ Oh bejeezus Joe – the bastards have had the bait”. ::)

By this time plod was loosing his patience – and the encounter wasn’t going his way – “OK lads, you’ve had your fun, now fuck off before I nick you”.

We never did get the Goldies, nor did we find out anyone who admitted to their whereabouts – but matey did get his come-uppance as the Police later raided his house after a tip off and found the remains of a dozen bikes in his shed and 20 or more bikes parts buried in his garden.
 
Hey Swan, what if those two Goldies are still in that River ???????????? :'(

Moral of this tale – if you’re fishing for Gold Stars – use the right bait ……………………………
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: swan on Mar 01, 2011, 11:07:34
I would love to hook one of those Goldies! Thanks for posting the story and happy birthday!


There are a few BSA's on board the shipwreck SS Thistlegorm in the Red Sea.
(http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u272/66triton/Thistlegormbsa.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 04, 2011, 06:17:23
Swan,
 
I know you read this thread - in this month's Classic Bike magazine [UK ] there's a very good article on rebuilding [ and data ] RRT2 boxes! Rebuilt by a top UK Goldie specialist. If it's any interest I can scan it and send it to a private e-mail address ?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: swan on Mar 04, 2011, 07:16:05
B, Thank you for your kind offer, but I'll buy the magazine locally.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 04, 2011, 17:18:01
I would love to hook one of those Goldies! Thanks for posting the story and happy birthday!


There are a few BSA's on board the shipwreck SS Thistlegorm in the Red Sea.
(http://i170.photobucket.com/albums/u272/66triton/Thistlegormbsa.jpg)

Love that photo!!!  I think those are M20s.  I always said the M20s made great boat anchors!

Happy Birthday BC!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 04, 2011, 17:31:27
Swan,
 
just to be clear - it's "Classic Bike Guide" magazine.
 
Thanx for the birthday wishes all - just need to focus this year [ health permitting ] to get at least 2 of my projects completed and on the road !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 07, 2011, 08:24:19
Did a bit of personal reminiscing at the weekend as Mrs. B and myself have now been together for 30 years - 3rd time lucky I guess.
 
Anyway, I decided to do a Google Earth to see if I could locate the Blinking Owl and "relive" some of those bends and roads of my youth.
 
What's that about leave the past in the past? ::)
 
A main Highway now passes right through where Passingford Bridge was [ "Fishing for Gold Stars" ] and the river is now in an underground culvert - wonder if they found 2 Goldies when they were constructing ! ;)
 
The main M25 London Ring Road passes through where the Owl was - so that's also gone ..........................
 
Yep, nostalgia is not what it used to be.  :'(
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 07, 2011, 14:54:21
Its funny talking to friends in Ireland and hearing of all the changes.  Most of the hangouts are gone as well.  One of the saddest for me was Turvey Ave.  It was a long straight country lane where a kilo sprint was held from the early 20s to the late 80s until development destroyed it.  They say you can't go home.  I think they're right mainly because when you get home it won't be there.  But you know BC, we have memories of a wonderful time that no developer can destroy.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 07, 2011, 17:27:14
Amen Hoof
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 10, 2011, 09:15:22
Pure self indulgence - apologies in advance.
 

(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/laverdaproddieracer.jpg)
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day [ almost ] 11th. March 2011

Mrs B 3rd, Production Racing Jota and the Handbag
.

This one’s a bit of self indulgence, given that it is not of the day  ::) [ “only” 30 years ago ] – but does involve a Café Racer machine [ Production race prepped Laverda Jota ], myself and the ONLY story bike orientated that includes Mrs.B 3rd. That’s my excuses – sorry if anyone is miffed. 8)

The reason – well, we’re celebrating our 30th. Anniversary this weekend [ 12th. / 13th. March ] and as I stated previously, Mrs. B and myself have hundreds of stories worth the telling, but are almost all car orientated – this is the only one involving a bike.

In fact, after this event, it was actually the last time Mrs. B went on the back of any bike – to this day !! :'(

Anyway, The Tale  – 30 years ago, I’ve just got together with Mrs. B. and after a rather traumatic parting with Mrs.B 2nd. AND losing my house and business as a result – I’m like a dog with two tails having hooked up with the current Mrs. B. Why?? Just take a look at the pix.! 15 years my junior, I thought all my Birthdays had come at once.

So I’m doing the Flash Harry bit to try to impress her and I’m doing a bit of retail [ and ego ]  therapy and swapped my CX500 for the Jota. That bike was very quick for it’s day – genuine 140 mph :o with brakes and handling to match.

 Those of you with 20-20 eyesight will note that the side panels say "Jarama", not Jota. Well, long story, but the Log Book [V5] showed the bikes as being a Jarama - so that's why the side panels were fitted ;) .The power plant, and running gear was pure Jota. In this pic you can just about see the evil little megga ..............

On this occasion I’ve had an invite from an old customer to attend the World Powerboat Championships at an inland water park – Chase Water in the midlands and only 40 or so miles from home. Those of you familiar with the Powerboat World will know that it’s all Glamour and Martini’s. So when Mrs. B asked what she should wear – I said “Something Stunning”. I decided to leave the Mustang at home and use the Jota – not only was it a beautiful day, but the Jota would I knew, make very serious presence in the paddock.

The Something Stunning was a skin tight silver [ I shit you not ] leather catsuit – like a very tight set of leathers! ;)
The outfit was finished off with a set of knee length black boots and a matching shoulder bag slung over and hanging down her back [ for all those girlie essentials].

We set off early to take advantage of the low volume of traffic at that hour, and after 10 miles or so of glorious bend swinging, we came to the main Motorway that would take us virtually to the location.

Once on the Motorway I settled to a steady 70 - 80mph [ no Rozzer mirrors on the Jota ], at which speed the Jota was barely ticking over, but had a very satisfying burble to the exhaust note.

Mrs.B starts tapping on my shoulder, but due to the shortie open Megga [ no baffles ] I can’t hear what she’s saying and assume she wants me to go faster. Up to 100 in a flash – more insistent tapping on the shoulder. 120 comes up in no time and a change up into top gear. This time it’s a real thump and I’m thinking, wow she’s a real speed freak. Time to get serious and as we have a real long [ 3 miles ] stretch coming up of virtually straight 3 lane Motorway – I give the Jota full beans. By now the Jota exhaust is really wailing – like only a Triple can. ;D

As we hit 140, the Jota is maxed out and I’ve still got Mrs. B banging away on my back. Not for the first time I’m thinking “ I haven’t got any more my dearest”. Fortunately for my ego we have to start slowing anyway to take the slip road [ off ramp ] off the Motorway for the last bit of twisties.

As we approach the roundabout over the top of the Motorway, she’s still thumping me, so I decide to pull over and let her know It’s not on to be giving it the max around lanes I don’t know that well - especially with such a precious cargo aboard. As I pull up, she leaps off the bike, rips the handbag off and swings it and nearly takes my head off.

Well  - “That’s not a very nice reaction just because I can’t go any faster” ??? I tell her. Then I take a look as she removes her helmet and her face is really red. Turns out that as I approached the ton, the weighted handbag flew out behind her with the strap around her neck – the faster I was going the more she was being strangulated!! NO, she didn’t see the funny side of it at all and opted to make the journey home in the safety of my pal’s E-Type.

Totally put her off bikes – but for the past 30 years mercifully hasn’t put her off me ………………… 8) 8) 8)
 (http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/img130.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Mar 20, 2011, 21:22:53
woahhh! shes a loooker!

pitty to think that that pic was X amount of years ago...

reminds me of a girl i used to mess around with....

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 23, 2011, 06:33:10
Hey Rocan, not so shabby even at 50+ !!!!!!!! ;) ;) ;)
 
No more tales for a while, I'm off with Mrs. B on a chill break to our place in Saxony.
 
A pretty shitty year for me healthwise that's kept me out of the garage. :'(
 
Well on the mend now, and a couple of weeks of beer and roast pig will do wonders for us. 8)
 
I'll put the finishing touches to "Missing Motorcyclist 2" when I get back.........
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rocan on Mar 23, 2011, 15:14:54
take it easy bc! have a good vacation then come back to us with more tales ;)

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: whiskey.pete on Mar 24, 2011, 11:44:27
I'm new here, and just came across this thread this morning.  Well, I read it from beginning to end.  Great to hear these stories from guys who were "there", and learn that the past we dream about with our old bikes actually happened, and was at least as great as we always thought it was!

Beachcomber and Hoof, if either of you are ever in the New York or Montreal area (New York in the summer, Montreal during the school year), look me up.  I'd love to buy you a beer or several and hear more!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 25, 2011, 01:22:19
Peter,  The days were great for many reasons.  Having pots of money wasn't one of them.  As I'm sure BC will confirm, people in England and Ireland (and the continent in general) have a different attitude to bikes.  When I started riding here in Riverside anyone on a bike was Hell's Angel or a nutcase.
 
When I got to Ireland I had my eyes opened.  Motorcyclewise California seemed almost oppressive by comparison.  Once outside the cities and towns there was no speed limit.  Cops had some of the blindest eyes anywhere.  A fr'instance.  I had a sidecar on the Norton and one spot (behind the Guinness brewery) on the way to work there was a tight left hander.  I could hike the sidecar and then head through Guinness' with the sidecar balancing in the air and trying to go as fast as I could.  One morning I have the sidecar up in the air and giving in a handful when a cop steps out and waves me down.  I got the usual what the hell do you think you're doing question.  I kinda pointed back at the corner and gave some lame excuse about the sidecar coming up and there was nothing I could do.  He had a big mustache and he looks me square in the eye, gives his mustache a tug and says "Do you think I was born yesterday and grew this overnight?"  Then he just said "You'll be late for work.  Don't let me catch you doing it again."  This is the sidecar.  Slimline Triton with a Watsonian Monza on the side.
 
(http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/5324/img110vc3.jpg)
 

 
Most of the time we didn't have two pennies to rub together but things were cheap.  I bought a slimline featherbed rolling chassis for about $30.  And one of the conditions of the sale was I had to take a 500T engine as well.  There were a few beautiful Tritons and Goldies but most of us made do with what we had.
 
I mentioned Turvey Ave. a couple of posts ago.  Long gone but fondly remembered.  This photo came from a friend.  We raced there because that is what we had.  The photo is looking back towards the start.  In the distance you can see a bike coming up.  Where the two people are standing out in the road is a side road where the timekeepers set up.  I think they might be a couple of the timekeepers having a quick look.  Note the huge runoff and all the other safety aspects.
 
These days we have the internet and gizmos to beat the band.  So in some respects we are better off.  But back then was a great time in a totally different way.  And in some respects we were better off.  If that can make sense. 
 
But I'm not done yet.  I realise that road racing is over for me.  Too old and stiff.  So land speed racing fills the void.  Despite being damn near fossilised I'm still getting ready to head to Bonneville again this year.
 
(http://img838.imageshack.us/img838/1378/20030020022789333476010.jpg)
 
P.S. Peter,  This is the traditional sidecar I built for land speed racing.
 
(http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/7673/sw150820104.jpg)
 
Sorry for wandering.
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: lingo on Mar 25, 2011, 11:45:05
No apologies needed sir. Wander all you want.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: whiskey.pete on Mar 29, 2011, 11:39:55
Yes, wander by all means!  I think a lot of us are more than happy to read more stories and see more pictures  :)   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 02, 2011, 11:24:46
Yep, back now and batteries fully recharged...........not only that but the results of my kidney tests were waiting for me on my return and showed far better prognosis than was expected ............. life is good. 8) 8) 8)
 
A couple of weeks will see "Missing Motorcyclist 2" ready for posting.
 
Nice to get the feedback from you "youngsters" - the whole idea of starting this thread was to give some of the younger enthusiasts a taste of what it was like back in the day. That's not to say OF's like me and Hoof aren't "with it" and all for progress and evolution. That's one wicked chair Hoof.....
 
Regretably due to the aforementioned helath issues, I'm having to cut back on some of my projects - but I have just secured a suitable Yam TR1 for my "Vincent 'esque" Cafe Racer. Yes it WILL have wire spoked alloy rimmed wheels, Goldie silencers and a trad Brit CR tank [ AJS 7R, maybe Goldie or Manx].
 
Hoof, your story of the sidecar and Guiness reminded me of the time with the first Mrs.B - 8 and a half months pregnant. I had a low sitter [ 16" wheels, LL forks ] Constellation in a T110 chassis with a Garrard Grand Prix attached.
 
We went off to the visit my parents via the Blinking Owl caff - which you may recall was out in the sticks of rural Essex.
 
We came round a right hander very enthusiastically trying to outrun a guy on a 500 Dommie [ solo ] in a nice [ though I say it myself ] 3 wheel drift. As we came to the next straight [ and Dommie catching me ] I suddenly came across 4-5 Bambi's in the road. One was a real tiny thing and aiming at it was my best hope of getting through in one piece. Only by lifting the chair wheel did I manage to clear the Bambi................ Mrs.B was NOT impressed.
 
The result was we had to abandon the visit to my folks - and head straight to maternity ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 02, 2011, 23:05:14
Glad to see you're back BC.  Happy too that your test are on the positive side of things.  I had a lot of fun with that sidecar.  Spent a lot of time imagining I was Fritz Schiedigger.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 03, 2011, 07:57:10
I was always Max Deubel Hoof !!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 03, 2011, 21:27:54
BC.  Remember these?  Made by Britain Ltd.  I bought this in the 60s for a few shillings.  Got some speedway riiders and Alf Hagons blown JAP sprinter as well.
 
(http://img168.imageshack.us/img168/7311/img0600vv4.jpg)[/img]
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: bikeboy on Apr 03, 2011, 22:12:01
Yep, back now and batteries fully recharged...........not only that but the results of my kidney tests were waiting for me on my return and showed far better prognosis than was expected ............. life is good. 8) 8) 8)

good news big fella. Take it easy.

Just spent a week-end away with dad and brothers/grandchildren talking shit about motorbikes. He's to blame for everyone of his boys getting bitten by this bug. His health maybe failing now, but it was good to let him know the our bunch of rabble (for better or worse) wouldn't be what it is today without his passion for these machines.

Good motorcycle stories are priceless, and bridge generations.

Look after yourself.

ian
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: whiskey.pete on Apr 05, 2011, 13:28:16
Guys, you're making me want to set up a sidecar hack.  This has the possibility of turning into another project...probably the last thing I need right now...but...looks like so much fun...

Glad to hear you're in good health, Beachcomber.  Looking forward to reading more!  Mentioned your sidecar story to the gf, she threatened to hit me if I tried something like that. 

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 05, 2011, 13:51:58
Peter,  If you ever get the gf into a sidecar you won't be able to get her out.   When my gf (now the long suffering better half) first got into a sidecar she was apprehensive.  When she realised how much more comfortable it was than riding pillion she was hooked.
 
Haven't been able to get her to hop into this sidecar yet.
 
(http://img835.imageshack.us/img835/2103/sw150820107.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 05, 2011, 14:40:32
This one will definitely be my last project...........
 
I've been collecting bits for the past 4 years and last year I found a guy in the UK who has the moulds for the fairings and will do me a set for the bargain price of £250 !!!!!!!!!!
 
It will have an R100 engine - can't afford a Rennsport.
 
It will be road legal, but it will get used for track parades and the odd sunny day of hooliganism.
 
As Hoof said, there's something about a chair - especially once you master the techniques.
 
(http://i751.photobucket.com/albums/xx155/vonheyda/personal%20stuff/mdeubel_m.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 05, 2011, 15:13:22
I'll really look forward to seeing that on the road!!!  How much does a Rennsport go for nowadays?  Assuming you can find one.  With the way my kees are I don't think I could fold up enough to fit a low sitter like that.  And I'm pretty sure a kneeler is out of the question.  Hers a spur for you BC.
 
Tom Petty - You Got Lucky (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTAhZKP5wCY#noexternalembed)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 05, 2011, 17:09:54
Like MAx Hoof, I preferred Sitters to kneelers. As you probably remember, Deubel went back to a sitter after a year with the kneeler. Eventually he had to go with the flow just to keep up.
 
My right knee is also giving me problems [ American football injury ] but strangely is OK once bent, but give me real pain to bear weight [ as a kneeler ].
 
I've had a couple of ex. race outfits on the road waaay back - in those days  - pre health and safety - plod wasn't too bothered about a passenger without a "seat". Not sure that would work so well these days !
 
One was a low sitter [ like Max's ] and the other was a kneeler - both with Triumph 500 Grand Prix lumps. The sitter was much more user friendly - that's when I had TWO good knees !
 
The last Rennsport motor I saw for sale [ 1989 !] went for £10K AND needed a rebuild.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 05, 2011, 17:25:53
I had a friend in Ireland years ago who built a sitter.  The frame was on the lines of a "squashed" featherbed.  16" wheels, 650 Triumph (single carb.  T Bird?).  Had it hooked to an old Steib.  The Steib had a 19" wheel and made the whole outfit look odd.  Then his wife got pregnant and he swapped it for the sporty (can't remember the model) Watsonian D/A.  Looked much better.  I know in Ireland we got away with an awful lot of crap that wouldn't be tolerated today.   I think the EEC has a lot to answer to. 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 14, 2011, 08:02:07
Sorry for the delay guys - suffered a PC virus attack and as a result my PC is still infected [ don't worry this is courtesy of my Daughter's lap -top! ]
 
My PC is in for a deep clean next week and I'll get the next Tale up when all is back to normal.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Apr 17, 2011, 17:39:54
Just thought id say: this has been the coolest thread ever! Beachcomber and hoof, I think you two could publish a book of the stories you guys have. They remind me of some of the moonshine running stories my grandfather was involved in back in the 50s and 60s in central florida. Stuff like this can't be made up or copied in hollywood, its just too cool!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 20, 2011, 05:34:54
Thanx for the encouragement MrE -
 
guess some of the stories could be viewed a bit cynically - but believe me - every word is true.
 
You have to have lived through the day -you can't fabricate or dream up the tales. For us it was part of everyday life, and as me and Hoof have previously stated - a much "gentler" time. 8)
 
Due to aforementioned hacker, my e-mail and some of my programmes have disappeared / been infected, so things have slowed uo while my own PC is being deep cleaned.However the next tale is almost ready and I'll write it up and post as soon as my PC is back.
 
The next story is case in point, and  in fact contains a little sub-tale - which will definitely raise a few eyebrows - but fact none the less.
 
I'm sure just like me, Hoof enjoys re-telling these tales - a bit like the ancient [ careful ] elders in Druid days passing on tales round the camp fire so the folklore didn't get lost forever.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: redlinedave on Apr 20, 2011, 07:56:57
B.C you need a Mac. they never get sick.Ive had the same laptop for years.
Never crashed,never hacked. And I go to some dodgy web pages ( like this).
any way my two cent.
Hope your are feeling better and Im sure I can speak for all in saying looking forward to more tales.
Title: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Grahamworks on Apr 20, 2011, 09:23:06
B.C you need a Mac. they never get sick.Ive had the same laptop for years.
Never crashed,never hacked.

+1 LOL
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Apr 20, 2011, 13:42:32
+1 on the mac. My next one will be!

And we eagerly await the next story! I've been telling my wife a lot of your stories b.c., just to convince her the fun I got into in my younger days is pretty mild and safe.  Of course, that doesn't do much to convince her that im being safe and never break the speed limit now haha...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 26, 2011, 21:02:14
Hey Mr. T. Eararse!!   Wheres the next story?  I'm curious to find out how you became Mr. T. Eararse.  I once entered a race as I. P. Freeley but they didn't buy it.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 03, 2011, 06:33:36
Hey Hoof - like the Hoofhearted much better !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - much more subtle than Hugh Jampton, or Ivor Biggun, etc .,etc.
Back in the day "non de plumes" were regularly accepted, and the licensing arrangements were much less enquiring.I simply got a pal to register as the aforementioned Mr.T. Eararse and then signed on as such. I seem to remember there was a period [ 70's??] when if you lost your road licence for whatever reason, your Comp licence was also withdrawn. THAT brought about some interesting names and deviations!
 
The good news [ ??? ] is that the new tale is written up and waiting to air - the bad news is that I don't get my PC back for another week! Not long now.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 04, 2011, 17:46:22
Theres a forum I visit with a couple of clever people.  Hugh Jass and Patina Turner and Edsel Presley (its an old car forum).  If you remember some of the old book jokes.  One was Revenge of the Tiger by Claude Balls.  I did enter a meeting as Claude Balls and got away with it.  I have the program out  the garage somewhere.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 11, 2011, 06:42:11
Then there was the Russian Mother's book "Baby's Revenge" by Nora Nipplesoff.
 
Anyway - here's the latest delayed tale - hope you enjoy it ........
 
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – May 2011
 
“The Missing Motorcyclist 2 – and the G45 at Ted’s”
 
OK, bit of a delay with this one - various health and computer probs – both now resolved.

Back to roundabouts with this tale, and the Matchless G45 mini tale is worth the telling, but not worth a whole tale – if you see what I mean!
 
The Summer of 1966 – seemed to go on for ever and no significant rain meant long rides into the early morning hours.
 
On this occasion the “posse” had been off to see about scoring some talent in Southend, and Dommie Dave [ he of the batshit incident at the Blinking Owl ] who attracted birds like a super magnet attracted metal – had scored a particularly spectacular bird, who just happened to live near our Romford “base” and was eager to get a lift back home. Don’t know what it’s like in the US, but here in the UK it’s an unwritten law that when Birds go out in a group, there’s always a donkey amongst them ! This time there were 3 birds all needing to get back home at the end of the evening – as usual 2 lookers and one dog ………………. OK, call me sympathetic [ or unlucky] so I ended up “volunteering” to take the “dog” home. Actually it was more like I was the slowest one to get off the mark and all my “mates” had scarperred, leaving just me and the dog. Well, couldn’t leave her there so I said if she could fit her ass on the bump seat [ long Manx ] – she could have a lift.
 
Bear in mind that these birds had gone to Southend by train and were not best dressed for bike riding………. Visualize a knee length flared skirt with fluffy petticoats – oh yes and stockings and garter belts were still the fashion. Swinging a leg over a bike could often give you a glimpse of that stairway to heaven.
 
Anyway – mates had long gone before I got Beryl [ for that was her name – what a memory ] safely ‘ish installed on the back of the Triton. Even though it was only a 500 – it was still mighty rapid as it was fitted with a TJ tuned Grand Prix engine. OK – it was one of the first ex. Government auction sale Triumph generator sets [ ex. RAF ], which in turn is what Triumph sold as the Grand Prix. Now I’m not cynical enough to think that there was Triumph at war’s end with 1000’s of generator sets – and no customer, wondering what to do with them – instant Race engine!
 
Anyway, the bike was quick and I soon caught up with the lads. Most of you will know if you ever take pillions [ I haven’t for the past 40 years ] – there’s good and bad. Some follow your every move just as if they weren’t there – and others lean the wrong way or panic / scream in your ear when you start pushing on. These normally only get on the pillion once. Well, Beryl was one of the former – actually she was very slim and had a verrry good body [ allegedly ] and was the ideal passenger. And due to the serious lack of space to perch her pert ass, she needed to cling on tightly. I’m not certain whether by pure chance she decided that my wedding tackle was the most appropriate point to attach her vice like grip to, or by design……………[OK, later found out is was by design.] There followed a most pleasant 30 mile ride back to the Blinking Owl where we had all decided to meet up as the night was still hot and inviting.
 
As the girls lived near Gallows Corner roundabout, we decided to go back via the Lay Bye to see who was around. By this time [ 2.0am ] most of the lads had called it a night and either gone off home or to one of the all night Transport Caffs. It was one of those nights that you wanted to go on forever, and even Beryl was looking more inviting by the minute.
 
So we all decided to see the night out with a visit to Ted’s Caff, just off the Gallows Corner roundabout.
 
Now did I mention that when I caught up with the group earlier, the girls’ dresses were billowing out behind them, and somehow they had forgotten to put any knickers on? That got me wondering about Beryl’s dress habits…….
 
So off to Ted’s down the Southend Arterial [ Bye Pass] and we were approaching Gallows Corner roundabout at a rapid rate of knots, I’d just got ahead of Dommie Dave and his gorgeous pillion and anchored up real quick – the John Tickle 2LS Manx front brake doing the business – so much so that the rear wheel hopped up in the air by about 6”. Nothing for a modern bike, but unusual in the day.
Anyway, Beryl also came off the seat hump by a similar distance – and it was about this time that Dommie Dave following, realized that Beryl had also forgotten to put any knickers on that night !!!!!!!!!!
 
I negotiated the roundabout and we all pulled up at Ted’s, only to realize that Dommie Dave was missing. As he’d been on a serious promise from the time he picked his bird up – we assumed he’d decided to take in a bit of horizontal exercise and ride off to our favourite “bird park”.
 
We soon forgot all about Dave – especially when an old Thames van pulled up outside Ted’s and the driver wheeled out a Matchless G45 race bike [ 500cc Twin ].
 
“Anyone want this for £35” was his opening remark. Now £35 represented nearly 3 weeks’ wages for us apprentices, but never the less was extremely cheap considering the race bike was worth about £400.
 
“What’s the catch” we asked as one. “No catch - £35 and take over the drip” [ credit ].
 
One of the lads couldn’t resist it as he’d written off his own bike 2 weeks before [ AJS CSR] and the G45 was his dream machine. The deal had to be done there and then, as matey was doing the rounds of all the Bike Caffs in the area. We managed to scrape up £20 between the lot of us [ about 15 guys ] and Ted stumped up the balance out of the till.
 
By now it was starting to get light and we were wondering where Dave was as he would certainly have come back to the Caff – if only to give us graphic blow by blow accounts of his latest conquest.
 
We thought - fuckit leave him to it,  and headed back to Gallows Corner to go to our various homes . As we approached we spotted the bird that Dave had been with, staggering about on the top of the grassed area of the roundabout. Initially we assumed that Dave had perversely decided to do the business on top of the roundabout.
 
“What have you done with Dave” we all wanted to know, but she was obviously dazed and not at all with it. We parked up the bikes and went onto the island to search for Dave amongst the flowers and shrubs. We eventually found him, and his bike – he was moaning and groaning [ broke his collarbone ], but as usual more interested in the condition of his bike.
 
“What the bloody hell happened Dave?”
 
“Well I was just about to take you on the roundabout [ yes of course you were Dave ] and that bird of yours gave me the full moon treatment – what an ass” ………………………………………………………
 
So concluded a memorable night’s ride out -and Beryl......... yes I hung around with her for 2 or 3 weeks, she was also memorable – but not for her good looks.   
 
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: enur19 on May 11, 2011, 08:08:27
Nice one BC, damn good story :D
I bet Dave was okay with taking a dip in the bushes after seeing "the moon" ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 11, 2011, 09:25:26
Thinking about it - he got to see a bush before going in the bushes !!!!!
 
No Brazilians, or any other fancy "haircuts" in those days 8) 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: enur19 on May 11, 2011, 10:07:35
haha I guess you're right :D
+ that is how it's supposed to be! ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 11, 2011, 21:14:14
Love it BC!   I never got that lucky but I did get "flashed" once by a sweet young girl at Mondello Park.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: bikeboy on May 11, 2011, 22:29:09
Then there was the Russian Mother's book "Baby's Revenge" by Nora Nipplesoff.

Wasn't that Nora Tittoff?  ;)

Love your work TJ.


ian
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on May 12, 2011, 01:20:17
I was doing highway construction one summer running a broom/ sweeper. 'Got flashed by some bird on the back of a bike :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 13, 2011, 08:21:03
One other memory popped into my head - when I caught up with the group after leaving Southend, I picked up the sight of the two pillion birds and at first thanx to the Prince of darkness' feeble impressions of a headlamp - couldn't quite see clearly. Now in those days, even on head beam you couldn't see an aweful lot and a lot of car drivers thought it was clever to flash motorcyclists coming the other way on their main beams.
 
So it was a rule in the day, you left the attachment bolts slightly loose, so that you could manually raise the whole headlight - and thus the beam to get you own back.
 
So- as I approached the lads with the knickerless pillions - I raised the headlamp a tad until the relevant areas of their anatomy were bathed in a sort of spotlight effect - perverse - me ??????
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: whiskey.pete on May 14, 2011, 16:44:26
What a way to crash...guess that WOULD be a bit distracting! 
Just got flashed (by a car, not a girl) last night-may have to try the movable headlamp trick, especially since it sound like it can be very useful sometimes  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 19, 2011, 07:08:41
Probably one last tale coming up before my summer break to Saxony.
 
"How to tow a Gold Star -not" ........there'll also be a couple of mini tales all Gold Star related. 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: VonYinzer on May 19, 2011, 11:38:17
A bunch of buddies and I went dirt biking in the woods when we were in High School. We would ride way out into the woods, get blind drunk, wake up and ride home. Not the most upwardly positive activity but shit, we were in high school.

Anyhow, after several beers the one night my buddys GF hopped on her little 125 and was buzzing down towards this lake to relieve herself. About five minutes later, we heard her coming right at the camp fire, full throttle.

As she passed us at about 40mph we all realized that all she was wearing were her panties and a MX helmet. Apparently it was some sort of payment for a lost bet with her boyfriend. Good looking girl too.

Ahhh... To be young again.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 26, 2011, 17:24:58
Well here we are guys, last one for a while probably
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – June 2011
 
“How to tow a Gold Star – not”
 
There was a period in my youth when myself and a lot of my mates were “Goldie Crazy” – most were B31 / B33’s converted with Goldie engine / gearbox parts and then a mixture of whatever clip-ons, tanks, seats etc. were available to us.
 
We weren’t trying – or even wanted – to make a replica of the genuine article. Most of us wanted to do it “our way”.
 
There didn’t seem much point [ to us ] in buying something that was exactly the same as a dozen others in the Caff car park. Eddie Dow had a fantastic string of aftermarket goodies [ Taylor-Dow ], and most of us went with those parts – like the cast alloy top yoke, ali tanks, seats etc.
 
What you have to remember is that back then although a Clubman Goldie was out of reach for us mere mortals [ cost wise ], a B31 /  B33 could be had for a fraction of the price. Say a 500 Goldie was £300 – a stock B31 / 33 would have been £30 – or less ! And there was a healthy secondhand market for Goldie engines and boxes – some more dubious origin than others!
 
Anyway – it was about this time that I realized that although a Goldie was fast – it wasn’t that quick compared to Bonnies and the like. Handled way better, but that was secondary. I’d just started dipping my toe into Clubman racing – courtesy of a licence full of speeding tickets / fines and the fact that Brands Hatch was only a fast 20 minute ride away. Practice days on Wednesday were open to all – you paid your ten bob [ 50 pence now or around 80 cents ] for a half day’s “testing”. It was also around this time that my pal Joe had bought a van load of Triumph 500cc ex. RAF generator sets – or as Triumph later liked to call them – Grand Prix race engines ! These were absolute pennies, and I ended up with a couple of them for my racing project. What’s that got to do with Goldies I hear you shout …….
Well, I had pulled my Goldie DBD 500 motor to sell at a good price to fund the race bike build, and as you may remember – all my work was carried on outside my Nan’s Council house in Dagenham, on the pavement [ sidewalk ]. By this time I had become friendly with a couple of guys that owned real garages plenty big enough for me to work in as well. The only problem was that the garage was some 15 miles away and often meant return trips for some forgotten, but essential part. That’s where the Goldie had been stored prior to pulling the engine. Anyway, no sooner had I sold the engine, than the same guy offered me a stupid price [ high ] for the rolling chassis. So a deal was done that included the chassis, but with stock steel rimmed wheels – as the alloy rims I had fitted were brand new Borranis. I simply pulled out one of my “Goldie ‘ised” B33 chassis’ and started to build the race bike around that. In fact, my new race Tribsa was all up and completed by this time – albeit it in full race trim – no silencers, no lights …………………..but it was road taxed and insured so I could run it in and do some final tweaks.
 
We arranged a time for him to come over to collect the bike and parts and he duly turned up with the cash and the deal was completed. Unfortunately for him, the old Thames van I had bought to transport my bikes to and from race tracks was off the road having a new head gasket fitted. He was real anxious to get the bike back so he could get it together for an upcoming run the next weekend.
 
Now in hindsight – the sensible thing to do would have been to simply reassemble the engine back into the bike and get it running. But matey was concerned about the lack of current road tax and he wanted to get back home and start on the project.
 
So I suggested towing the bike – once towed it ceased to be a vehicle and became a trailer – not requiring tax ! He thought that was a great idea and the cash changed hands. It was about that time that he realized that we didn’t have a car between us – and would have to tow it with another bike!   That bike being my Race Tribsa.
 
The guy was still game for this although he had never been towed before, and in actual fact I had never towed anything either! How difficult could that be ????
 
After a few false starts and the realization that putting the tow rope around BOTH fork stanchions wasn’t a good idea, we had a trial run round the block and everything seemed OK.. The guy had turned up in a suit, straight from work, and had no crash helmet or riding gear – although it was a warm / dry Summer evening. That just left the engine…… one of my mates volunteered to take it on the bus ! Yes, why didn’t we just put it in the frame – I know, but we thought that a lighter bike would be easier to tow. A few of the other guys had decided to come and ride shotgun, as we weren’t at all sure what the legal position was of towing a bike – especially with another bike.
 
So we set of at a reasonable speed, gradually building up to around 30mph. It should be said that the guy was also quite a nervous type and kept shouting at me to slow down. All went well until we approached a set of traffic lights at a cross roads in Romford. I really had forgotten all about the Goldie being towed by this time as the Tribsa pulled it as if it wasn’t there. The lights just went to Amber [ get ready to stop at Red ] as I approached, so I gunned the Tribsa as did my outrider mates. Nervous guy decided to put the brakes on as he wasn’t confident we’d make it across before the lights changed. As soon as I realized what he had done, I changed down a couple of cogs and wound the Tribsa up to full wail …….Unfortunately I couldn’t see the farce that carried on behind me, but the outriders did.
 
Apparently the Goldie front wheel came clean off the ground and the hapless rider was all arms and legs trying to keep on board. I pulled up the other side of the lights as my pals were flagging me to stop. The guy was in such a state that we had to arrange one of my mates to ride the Goldie while he was put on a pillion. We actually got back without any further problems….apart from the bus ride. The guy had hauled the Goldie engine onto the bus, only to be told 4 stops later by the conductor that he couldn’t take the engine. Eventually a compromise was found [ my mate WAS 6’ 4” and built like a brick shithouse ] and the Goldie engine was bought it’s own ticket !
 
This tale was a little longer than I expected, so, I’ll save the little odd Goldie stories for another time…….
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: whiskey.pete on May 28, 2011, 17:19:14
I can't quite blame him-getting towed behind another bike sounds like a hell of a ride.  Also, great to hear I'm not the only one building bikes outside, without the benefit of a garage  :)

Looking forward to reading more when you get the chance!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Graeme77 on Jun 11, 2011, 13:11:40
Hi, been reading through the forum for a few weeks, but seems this is my first post.
 
Beachcomber, love your stories. Made even better as this is my home town. I live in romford, work in southend, and my wife is from dagenham.
Its cool to hear about you guys racing on roads i know :)
 
Then i realised, you may have known my stepdad? He was born in romford, worked the markets, and rode bikes around that time. He and his friends had many bikes, but there were at least 2 HRD's between them. Details are vauge and unfortunately he died a couple of years back so i cant confirm any details.
His name was Jon Chatfield.
Ring any bells?
He was born in 1949 so would have been the right age, in the right town with the right bikes.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 12, 2011, 16:03:16
Wow Graeme,
 
Now then this may be too spooky to be true ...........................
 
There WAS a guy around that time we all knew as "Chatters" - I seem to remember him at that time on BSA's. Chatters / Chatfield ???? Who knows......
 
He had a good pal Alan [ Name fade ] who had a wicked Black Shadow and went on to be something of a legend in the Custom Car field of painting.
 
Incidentally - this was the very SAME guy I bought the Manx engine from in the tale of Dangerous Roy.
 
Even better as you are familiar with the territory - however, I KNOW there's been many changes to the roads in the area - Gallows Corner went from a GBFO roundabout to having a Bailey type flyover bridge constructed by the Army as a "temporary measure" in the late 60's and was still there in the 80's !! Maybe gone now - it bloody well ought to be as the "road" surface was initially steel !! OMG. Fun in the wet.
 
Also, probably before your time - the old cross roads in the centre had a pub on the left [ Golden Lion, Cross Keys ?] and the road to the right was the old original cobbled livestock market leading back up to Gallows Corner. Last time I was there [ 25 years ago ] the Road that carried straight on there [ North Street? ] was blocked off and was a pedestrian area.
 
Ahhhh, nostalgia ain't what it used to be.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Graeme77 on Jun 13, 2011, 07:26:37
The flyover is still there!
The roundabout has been laned and its terrible, was better when it was a free for all.
 
The golden lion is still there, along with the Lamb and what used to be clutterbucks (the pub joined to the brewery).
 
Alot of that area is now pedestrianised.
The town center, where the fountain used to be is now covered too, and the brewery is a shopping center LOL.
 
As for my stepdad, that sounds likely!
He was probably about 5'9 or so, dark hair, stocky.
 
His tails from the old days were full of drinking and fighting, i think he was a bit of a nutter LOL.
He also swam and raced pedal bikes. Not sure if he would have been living on rainham road or crow lane back then.
Played guitar in a local band, cant remember their name. The BSA sounds right too.
Had a couple of brothers, one called freddie, cant remember the other. His folks worked the market where he worked too. Clothes and army surplus if i remember right.
I hadnt spoken to him about his youth for many years before he died so details are hazy.
 
He had some great stories of runs to the coast in humber scepters and a TVR with a ford 100e body and no floor beating local E type owners 8)
He ran a v6 morris minor traveler for a while, probably late 60's but this isnt bikes now so were straying of topic.
 
Do you remember the cardrome on rainham road? Just got back from there after passing my Module 1 test this morning so im in a good mood ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Graeme77 on Jun 13, 2011, 08:17:51
Just finished reading through all the stories.
 
Had to say though, your mistaken about the blinking owl.
 
Its still there, i drive past it every day.
 
Funny you used to shoot too. Do you know a Gary Williams? He's my wifes uncle, the guy i bought my bike from, and he also used to shoot for Essex. I dont know when, maybe 15 years ago. Pistols and rifles i believe.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jun 13, 2011, 20:22:59
Beach'

A tribute to you in my build thread in Cafe Racer's:

(http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c276/Ed_Guy/DSC_0204.jpg)

(Theres one in there for hoof too)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 14, 2011, 06:55:30
Hey Rat - I'm flattered, thanx for your kind thoughts.
 
Here's one of my full sized versions ! This was on the occassion of the Memorial Rally for Innes Ireland. We [ RAM ] provided 6 cars for dignitories to drive on the rally - Carroll Shelby [ Cob natch ], Sir Jack Brabham [ D Type ], Richard Noble MBE - World Land Speed record holder - for a while! [ XKSS ], Sir John Surtees [ D Type ], Martin Hone [ Organiser ], The Lord Mayor of Birmingham [ Cobra ]. HRH The Duke of Kent is somewhere in the background !!! The female in the car with me is the local BBC TV camera person - one of 4 who filmed the event.
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars033.jpg)
 
Graeme - My competition shooting days were in the 60's early 70's. I only competed with rifle - .22 and a .303 Lee Enfield with iron sights. I wasn't actually very good with pistol, much to my annoyance. Maybe something to do with the fact that I used a snub nosed S&W .357 Magnum with factory rounds! I DID go down the route of "proper" .22 target pistols, but was still no good  :(
 
We used to shoot at a range in Southend [ details escape me now ] - mad days.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Jun 15, 2011, 02:25:15
Been thinking, If you was into Cobra's, you probably know Paul and Eddy in South Wales?
 They were building Cobra reps with imported 427 motors and the occaisional Jag V-12/Rover V-8
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 15, 2011, 05:42:02
Hi Crazy,
 
didn't they build cars based on the DAX Cobra?
 
We actually designed and manufactured the cars, along with D Type, XKSS, XK120 Roadster and Porsche Speedster / 550 Spyder - and more recently the C Type Jag. I am now retired and sold up my business in 2000 and simply assist my pal at RAM from time to time with engineering design consultancy - just finished re-designing the C Type chassis to take supercharged Jag V8 motor. AND of course we're both playing with bikes - a hobby gone mad. Reverse Y Trike now nearly in full prototype format.
 
Our Cobras generally had Small Block Chevy, although like most we started out in the early 80's with the ubiquitous Rover V8 [ nee Buick 215 ]. Once at a customer's insistence we built a car based on Turbo Cosworth V6 4WD. Much to our surprise Shelby not only liked the idea [ V6 !! ] but gave it a thumbs up when he drove it. He just couldn't believe the handling / roadholding.
 
Our RAM / Bardahl Trophy race cars used specially imported Ford 351 W Motorsport engines [ 30 of them ! ] which were then sealed for the one-make series which we supplied cars for.
 
That said - we've put just about any V8 in there, including a couple of genuine 427 side oilers [ also with alloy bodies ] !
 
The RAM was the ONLY Cobra replica to recieve the personal endorsement of Carroll Shelby [ one more since in the US ].
 
Here's one of 3 lorry loads on their way back from the Goodwood festival where we supplied cars for the dignitories to drive around the circuit. The Yellow / White one is our own personal Bardahl trophy entry. The one on the top stack [ A4COB ] is the car that Shelby drove to evaluate the endorsement, and he also drove it round LeMans prior to the race in 1995 [?] On that occassion I followed him with the Bardahl race car carrying a French TV cameramn.
 
RAM has made over 4000 cars since they started, and my own - more modest business - 1500 before I retired. Two of my designs are currently being produced in Germany.
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars044.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jun 15, 2011, 20:15:54
About Ram, hows them shocks coming?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 16, 2011, 06:23:45
 :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[ :-[  Errrrr......slowly Rat.
 
Mainly due to my latter ill health [ now more or less sorted ], but believe it or not the main stumbling block has been the ability to get the different grades of alloy to take the anodising so that it is the same shade all through !! :'(
 
The shox themselves HAVE been lab and road tested with 100% success - in Polished alloy finish, but I was looking for something "outstanding" for the Classic versions which would suit both the traditionalists [ ie me ] and those with a free spirit to interpret "Cafe Racer" their way. 8) 
 
The annoying part is that I'm not even certain in my own mind that they NEED to be Gold - I just liked the idea.
 
I can have polished alloy versions ready in within 4 weeks..........................
 
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 16, 2011, 06:40:58
Just came across this pic.
 
The Shelby parade Cobra and my race car behind Bob Bondurant, Pete Brock and the current Mrs. B at Le Mans prior to the parade cavalcade and Shelby's filmed laps. He was only meant to do one solo lap, but nobody could stop him from doing a second! That was a bit touch and go for me, as the car ran out of petrol just as we came into the pits after the second lap !
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars040.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Jun 16, 2011, 11:33:11
Yep, I only really knew Paul Board, friend worked for his father.
 They did put a Jag V-12 (or Daimler ' double six'?) in one for a Japanese guy who wanted something 'extra'?
 Been in Florida since '99, haven't got back much so haven't kept in touch.
 Guess six degree's of separation 'works'  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 01, 2011, 13:48:27
Well guys I'm off to sunny Saxony in a week or so to recharge the batteries  ;D and won't be back until the 2nd week in August, but there will be a brand new Tale - "The Sign of the Zodiac".
 
There's a few more brewing up to take us into the Winter months, including another featuring "Dangerous Roy". 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 12, 2011, 08:46:02
Here's the final tale for a while, I'm off to Saxony for a few weeks .........
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day
 
“The Sign of the Zodiac” July 2011
 
The title might infer some sort of astrological connection – not so, we’re actually back to the “Z” cars we met in an earlier tale – This time the Ford Zodiac. BTW my American cousins – pronounce the Z as “Zed”, not “Zee” for the “Englishness” of the tale to come through.
 
OK, so the young Beachcomber has a regular job as a  design Draughtsman working in Aluminium Structures – bridges, Overhead Power Cable Pylons, and a hundred oddball projects – like the sluice gates for the Zambezi [ whatever it’s called these days ] Dam hydro plant.
 
This was at a time when my racing efforts were getting a little more intense and I was now on my Mk3 Tribsa. Which meant that my daily ride had to be sacrificed to provide all the good bits – Borrani rims, 500 Grand Prix engine, RRT2 Goldie box ………………
 
Just as well really as the bike had been the cause of my latest brush with plod – earning me another 2 citations and £20 fine – or nearly a week’s wages [ this in 1965].
 
The bike was virtually a race bike with a few niceties to placate plod – in fact it WAS my old Mk2 race Tribsa – still with open meggas, no lights [ legal in the UK in daylight ] and using an old bulb [ Clown’s type ] hooter. My daily commute took me from [ then ] sleepy Essex through the East End of London up to the famous Billingsgate Fish Market where the offices and workshops were nearby. On a bad day the smell of fish in the air reminded you of a weekend in a cathouse.
 
Anyway, digressing as usual ………….. on this day I was late for work and was in a real hurry. Particularly annoyed at being caught by a set of traffic lights, I really gave the bike some beans in a Drag Start that would have done EJ Potter proud. Within 200 yds I suddenly heard the unmistakable bell of a Police car – and when I looked round – yes it WAS me he wanted! No chance to outrun him as the traffic was really intense.
 
Futtox – just what I needed when I was already late for work!
 
In his best sarcastic tone the Rozzer sauntered over and asked me if I knew what an “Infernal Din” was, referring to the two open meggas. I said “Sorry , can’t hear you – too much noise” which didn’t go down too well. That prompted a full scale on the spot check of the bike, which in the main was road legal …..  until he came to the bulb hooter, which somehow or other had got full of water and instead of emitting a solid “Parp, parp” – gushed out a jet of water all down the front of his trousers in the crotch area ! “Ahhha, I’ll be doing you for that as well – no audible means of warning approach” – well and truly quoting the exact misdemeanor.
 
Later in court when the citations were read out I did point out to the Magistrate that I couldn’t possibly be guilty of BOTH – as the two were contradictory !!! My wit and logic didn’t help and I still got a fine and points for each !
 
Back to the plot – My licence now read like War and Peace and there wasn’t a lot of room left for any additional violations, and once you got up to a decent number, you lost your licence for a while. That’s what really prompted me to build the Tribsa as a full on track bike.
 
So the Tribsa was taken off the road for a rebuild and I ended up with a Matchless 350 Trials bike as my commuter. No dramas and the laid back style [ and lower performance ] meant that my licence should be safe for a while longer.

Working at the Aluminium fabricators also had the bonus that I was able to get many parts made in top grade alloys. The boys in the workshop were very good about it, and when drawings turned up in the shop, which were obviously bike related, they just turned a blind eye and made them for me.
 
After a week or two of commuting with the Matchbox, I again found myself late for work and with the traffic being bumper to bumper in the East End I decided to mount the central refuge and ride on that. This was a raised concrete barrier – only about 9” high that acted to separate the traffic and allow pedestrians to cross the road with some degree of safety. It was only about 2 foot wide, plenty for me to try out my Trials skills whilst avoiding the traffic! Occasionally I had to drop off this to avoid the odd pedestrian or when Traffic lights were approached.
 
As I approached one particular set of lights I again came off the central barrier, to find myself right next to the very same plod in his Z car that had nicked me on the Tribsa !!!!!! This time I did decide to outrun him and weaved off amidst the traffic. However his local knowledge took him on a detour down side roads so he actually ended up coming out of a side road on my left. I was on the outside of the traffic lane and we were unsighted to each other – until he nosed out into my lane………….
 
In the inevitable collision, I slid all down the front of his Zodiac, while my bike went in the other direction.
 
Luckily for me the locals all rounded on the copper – saying what a dangerous driver he was, menace to life and limb, etc., etc. And with that he had to let me off my earlier trials riding performance.
 
As the weather was particularly foul, I had an ex. WW2 tank suit on – totally waterproof, but made you look like the Michelin Man. I was pretty shook up by the incident and elected to turn round and go home for the day. Just as I was about to shoot off, an Ambulance turned up that had been called out by a passer by, and they insisted on taking me to hospital. Now I have to say that the Tank suit was pretty well ripped and my left leg in particular was really painful.
 
Time for a confession – I had [ then ] a morbid fear of needles / injections and would do anything to avoid stitches / injections.
 
The medical staff wanted to cut my tank suit off – no way, that cost me best part of 2 quid. I said I’d remove it myself and went into an ante-room. When I eventually got the leg exposed there was a deep gash all the way up my shin from the ankle an embedded in the shin bone just below my knee was the “Z” from the Z.O.D.I.A.C. name badge from the copper’s car! These letters were individually cast and attached above the front grill of the car.
 
I was well aware that injury would require, injections and stitching at the very least, so I gathered up all my kit and slid out of a side entrance and back to where my bike had been left and high tailed it home to my Gran’s.
 
The pain was pretty severe, even for me as a hardened Rugby player with my fair share of knocks and bruises. My Gran was insisting that I went to see our GP at least to get the Z removed and the  stitches that would be required to pull the flesh over my part exposed shin bone.
 
No, not for me Gran - So I steralised the Vice grips with some of my Grandad’s Whisky, gritted my teeth and pulled the Z out of my shin bone. A good spread of ubiquitous “Germolene” covered with lint and all held tightly together with Gaffer tape to help the wound seal - Fixed.
 
There we have it – “The Sign of the Zodiac” ……………………….. 
 

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/thumbnail-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: enur19 on Jul 12, 2011, 18:05:20
Jesus, that sounds a bit reckless "young" man ;)
Do you have a scar looking like a Z now? :P and what happened to the cop, do you know anything about him? He must have gotten a lot of heat for a smashed car.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 13, 2011, 05:06:50
IF ONLY the scar was in the shape of a "Z" [ Zorro?] that would really finish the tale off !!! 8)
 
In reality it's 10" long and to this day resembles a trough down my shin where the gaffer tape didn't quite pull the flesh neatly together ! I'm more of a shade tree surgeon than a cosmetic version. ;)
 
Amazingly the Zed car escaped with no more than missing badge letters - from Z to I from memory where my leg went across the front.
 
As you can see from the pic the Zodiac badge is quite high - the upper part of my body virtually slid across the bonnet [ hood ] of the car whilst my leg peeled the letters off. The bike was catapulted away from the car by my bent [! ] left leg and ended up in the middle of the road.
 
I don't expect for one minute the rozzer reported the accident in his day log - probably put the missing badge letters down to vandalism !
 
BTW - I STILL had that "Z" up until a few years ago - which I kept as a momento - somewhere in a box in our loft probably :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Jul 13, 2011, 13:47:03
Wow, that's the best story yet! :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 19, 2011, 06:06:11
Thanx MrE,
 
as previously - I'm having a ball with these recollections.
 
Just made me very grateful I was there in the day to witness the birth of the Cafe Racers, and had some part in that history.
 
I made it a priority in my life to try - even to fail [ see my signature ], but at least you tried.
 
If anything, that would be my advice to those "coming through"  8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jul 20, 2011, 15:30:52
My Dad told me "If you don't try you can't fail.  Equally you can't succeed".  He also told me "Make all the mistakes you want.  Just try to make them only once."   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 20, 2011, 16:56:48
haha! oh mann, that is funny as hell!

more please!

you should write a book!

Well ................................... As I responded back then - i am already writing a book about my Uncle Harold who died in Normandy after being dropped in on D-day morning. It's taking much longer than I anticipated as the veterans are all, well getting towards the end and I'm trying to gather as many personal interviews and info. as I can while there's still time.

What's that got to do with Rocan's -"you should write a book"..........??

I had a long conversation with the artist John Hancox today about the Cafe Racer and DTT Calendars [ 2012 ] that we are collaborating over. We also discussed the wider market of Cafe Racer Tee shirts and other merchandise.

However what people don't realise is that as well as being a top automotive illustrator for some major companies - he is a talented artist and also - a great cartoonist with a real flair bike orientated drawings.

Again, what's that got to do with a book ? Well John's son Warren visits the DTT site quite frequently - like John being a Cafe Racer freak.

So the subject of "Beachcomber's Tales from the Day" came up - and almost in stereo we said - what about a book liberally illustrated with cartoons to show the events in each tale !

Some of you will have seen examples of John's work for the upcoming DTT special Calendar - but you won't have seen his superb bike cartoons.

John is like me - a child of the era and is just as enthusiastic as I am - it didn't take much persuading to get him to commit with me to produce the Calendars!

So a book is being planned as we speak - I'll still keep the Tales coming, there's plenty more - but I intend to rewrite those already posted whilst liaising with John over suitable events for cartooning. We were both pissing ourselves just thinking of the possibilities !

BTW - John has produced another 3 illustrations for the Calendar a Bonnie, Constellation and BMW Airhead. These prints will be available individually on heavy art card for those with specific model interest.

Don't worry - this is not an umitigated plug - we have already agreed a well deserved donation to the DTT coffers.

NEXT year's [ 2013 ] calendar will feature Japanese based bikes

Just like this one - anyone recognise it?
 
ooops best attach the pic eh????
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img249.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jul 20, 2011, 19:22:54
Well ................................... As I responded back then - i am already writing a book about my Uncle Harold who died in Normandy after being dropped in on D-day morning. It's taking much longer than I anticipated as the veterans are all, well getting towards the end and I'm trying to gather as many personal interviews and info. as I can while there's still time.



Interesting BC.   The house I'm in now belonged to Drew Anderson.  He was a big fan of gliding and was one of the glider pilots for the D-day invasion.  He survived and lived a full life until his passing in 1996.  But you are right.  The veterans are disappearing at an alarming rate. 
 
P.S.  Stunning illustration.  I used to play with an airbrush many years ago but I never got that good.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 21, 2011, 05:41:01
Hoof - you might be interested to check out www.operationpaddle.com (http://www.operationpaddle.com). , it's a very crude [ as in not very good ] site I made some years ago to pre-empt the book and get more info. through the I/N. It worked up to the point where I lost the e-mail address and I can't find out how to get into my site to change it ! :-[ However, the site info. is correct. Sad to say that my other Uncle [ Raymond ] pictured in his Para uniform at the graveside is now also in very poor health, and Maj.Jack Watson MC, who was very supportive and has provided the foreward to my book passed away recently .............................
 
Anyway enough of that. 8)
 
Yes, John Hancox is a very talented artist, having spent his working life drawing technical diagrams for car manufacturers. I hadn't realised, but I've got his signature on many old car manual illustrations in my library.
 
He was also called on by Classic Bike [ ?] magazine some 15 /20 years ago to supply colour illustrations for a 6 page article they did on - would you believe - Cafe Racers ! I still have a copy.
 
The XS650 picture is of course our own beloved Tim's - done with his permission of course. It was in an effort to persuade John that a Japanese bike flavoured calendar would be well recieved.
 
Hoof, I had a random thought after I made the last posting - I'll pm you about getting your permission to use parts of your work and pix in the book. A sort of "Associated Tales".........What do you think ?
 
I'll ask the same question of others of our era.
 
It's EARLY days yet, although the storyboard for the layout is already roughed out !
 
You know of my previous problem re: photos  ;) - so this idea of picking an illustration to go with certain events is both fortuitous and makes sense, as none of the events were photographed anyway !
 
I can't wait to see what he does with my pal's outfit plunging down the Cemetary approach road with Dangerous Roy hurtling off into the hedge - see what I mean ! ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: haplo_84 on Jul 21, 2011, 08:32:18
Beach, i can't wait for you to get all the info you need for your book! I love anything and everything dealing with WWII history, i guess it comes from my grandfather manning AA guns in normandy after d-day.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jul 22, 2011, 00:41:40
I had grand parents on both sides. Well, My Opa was too young by not much but his two brothers were in, one the German Navy on a mine sweeper and the other died in Russia somewhere. My fathers side has lots as well being from Newfoundland one of the highest regarded regrements of Canada.


My opa has told me very little about what it was like, back then/ there. One of the stories he told me was post war when food was scarse and money was even harder to get. He told me he would ride his motorcycle around (Zundapp) chasing rabbits down and kiking them with his boot! to bring home for dinner. Another is when we were watching the Top Gear when Richard brings Sabine to the Nuremburg ring to do a lap in the van, he told me he rode his 150cc Horex and all about the carosell, the bridge, some of the hills and cars flying by.

Lastly, he said that there is no way you could ever get away today with what he did back then (not much more details then that). Guns were a big no no and he rode around with this little .22 pistol taken apart in different places of his clothing again for small game to bring home. He and his freinds would as I recall correctley with a little rifle, shoot cigarettes from each others mouths backwards over theyre shoulders using mirrors!

I wish I could have seen him back in his day!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 22, 2011, 05:39:50
The German garrison that was responsible for defending the ground [ Dozule - Hill 13 ] was made up mainly from Russian recruits / and those forced to fight for the Germans.
 
10 years ago I was on my annual pilgrimage to the village and bumped into a guy on the hilltop, about the same age as myself. It was obvious what each of us was doing there and we got into conversation. Although German, he spoke in excellent English. It appears that his Father was involved in the battle and also lost his life there .............................
 
Up until about 1970 [? brain fade ] there were around 20 or so German graves in the same cemetery as the Paras - and his Father was amongst them. The bodies were later repatriated [ to Germany ? ]
 
What's called - a Small World.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jul 22, 2011, 08:52:00
One of my freinds grand fathers of both sides of the family were armour crew members one German, one Canadian. They both fought at "The battle of the Bulge".

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 14, 2011, 06:57:18
Back from a "recharge the system" break in Saxony and plenty of time to recall more memories.
 
I brought back the John Hancox illutrations from the Classic Bike magazine article - I now have a meeting jacked up with him to discuss the "book" next month. I can't recall who put the idea in my mind - but thanx !
 
A couple of recollections bubbled up while chilling out, one brought to mind when a small herd [?] of Bambis strolled across the road in the forest which surrounds our village.
 
Inevitably it involves "Dangerous Roy" !! Yep, that'll be the next one for September.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Aug 14, 2011, 16:31:57
Sweet! I've been waiting for another one.  Lookin forward to it soon!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 16, 2011, 06:10:02
Graeme77 - been bothering me since you posted about the Blinking Owl ............
 
At 67 my memory is not perfect [ wasn't ever ! ] and your present day location of the Blinking Owl was causing me to scratch my head.
 
Glad to say I now have the answer ! I mentioned that by pure coincidence, and after some 35 years the guy from the Absent WIfe, Bungalow, digger etc made contact with me some months ago.
 
Well, while I was in Saxony I got a call from him to say he was in Prague - 90 minutes away. Long story short - we arranged a meet and had an evening of reminiscing. Now then, here's where he put my memory straight - the Blinking Owl on the Sarfend Arterial has as you rightly say NOT been moved to rural Essex! The Caff I was referring to was Knicknamed the "Crapping Owl" after the headcold incident - after that it was always the "Owl" - hence my terminal inexactitude. It was in fact "The Woodlands" - made famous [?] for the fact that one of the Great Train Robbers parked his Ocean going yacht on the green outside ! Nah, well hidden mate.
 
That however IS gone - along with Passingford Bridge, and presumably the 2 Goldies !
 
The Cardrome was where I had the ONE official lesson [ so I could use the school's car ] before I took [ and passed ] my test. In a Triumph Herald.
 
Shooting wasn't always boring 10 x 10's - here's the posse with a very youthful looking Beachcomber on the left and the guy on the right standing with the shotgun is none other than Keith Harvie - the founder and CEO of PAW [ Performance Automotive Wholesale ] which went on to become one of the largest speed shops in the US.
 
The WW2 German forage cap NEVER went down well when I was shooting in competitions!
 
I defy any of you shooters to call what the .45 Auto was? Alloy bodied and made in South America. The other was a .357 snubby Magnum
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img012.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 20, 2011, 06:16:29
Came across this the other day, and brought back some memories.
 
This WW2 Bomber generator set was in fact the basis for the Triumph "Grand Prix" competition engines !
 
There were literally thousands of these sets around at War's end, and no doubt Triumph had more in the pipeline.
 
Having developed the "splayed port" heads as being the canine's cajones - it was a masterstroke of PR B** S*** to then promote the straight port Grand Prix engine as the new kid on the block!
 
My pal Joe bought a van load of these units at an ex. Govt. Surplus sale, and as posted before - I ended up with 2 of them.
 
The straight port layout was in fact in an attempt to get the package as compact as possible - note the unusual carb position.
 
We even found a good source to offload the generator parts for a profit !
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/RAF20Generator20Triumph20Square20head20barrels.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: tWistedWheelz on Aug 22, 2011, 09:22:31
BC, I have determined you must be the British version of Forest Gump, you truley have had a hand in so many things that at some point you significantly changed world history in some way!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 22, 2011, 14:19:16
BC, I have determined you must be the British version of Forest Gump, you truley have had a hand in so many things that at some point you significantly changed world history in some way!

haaaaa - like I said - I' have been blessed with a full and interesting life and grabbed opportunities by the goolies whenever possible !

talking of which, I spoke again with the artist John Hancox today - he wants to come up for a meeting to discuss " the book" and his hand in the illustrations. He's even threatening to throw in some tales of his own !

He's so busy this year with "our" DTT Calendar - Vincent / Norton and Matchless completed by the end of this week - that it will be next year before we can even think about it.

I might even [ for the book ] throw in some of my car related tales - I have first hand stories with some very well known race icons - like when we went on the Innes Ireland Memorial rally and Shelby talked me into "getting lost" en route so we could spend some time in an Olde English pub !!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 02, 2011, 12:45:37
Here's the latest tale ..............
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day

Dangerous Roy’s “Stag Night” – September 2011.
 
Well here we are again – back with Dangerous Roy, he’s well into cars by now – but still Dangerous !
 
We’re now moving out of the first Café Racer period – late 1968 and our pal Roy is now 100% into cars and has progressed from mundane saloons to sports cars – albeit the humble British Triumph Spitfire. He’s now also seriously involved with a bird [ later to become his Wife ] and spends less and less time with us bikers.
 
In truth, we were all joining the “wife, mortgage, 2 ½ kids and a dog” nuclear family – some more reluctantly than others.
 
Anyway, another fantastic Summer’s riding and all the usual crew meet up at least once a week for the “Lay bye Burn-ups”.
 
By now even the Beachcomber has a Wife, but still also has the ex. Bob Mac Constellation ! That’s been refined over the years and even though other bikes had come and gone – the Connie remained the favourite. A sidecar outfit briefly featured as daily transport until the Stag incident with the pregnant Mrs. B 1st.
 
After trying out various ex-race outfits, a kneeler and a low sitter – it became obvious that 4 wheels would have to be the deal. And that didn’t count my Austin Race Transporter van ! Quick diversion – my Granny and Aunt decided they wanted to go out for a day trip to Southend. No probs – I’d have done anything for my Gran.
 
So ……… 3 seat sofa out of the first floor Maisonette and down 6 flights of stairs into the back of the Austin – chocked in place with a couple of batteries.
 
Gran was OK, but Auntie was less than impressed – oh well……….. All was well until I got cut up by some nutter in a Ford Anglia. I forgot all about my passengers and gave chase so I could give him a serious talking to – that was Ok until we came to a series of roundabouts, when I suddenly remembered my passengers on their sofa. I looked in the mirror to see the sofa spinning round in the back having broken loose from it’s moorings !
 
Digression over - so Mrs.B had by this time provided me with a beautiful Daughter, and she was the reason I decided to get a “decent” car.
 
That’s a story for another tale on a 4 wheel forum. However, We were all up the Lay Bye on this particular balmy Saturday evening and who should pull in but Roy – with his newly acquired Spitfire. It was around midnight and Roy was out on the prowl having left the missus at home.
 
It was some time since so many of the old crew had all been together, so we decided to make a night of it and took off for the Owl. Now, the Owl as previously referred to was in fact “The Woodlands”, renamed the “Crapping Owl” after the head cold incident – that was later shortened to just the “Owl”. Just thought I’d explain that.
 
So we all set off, having come to an agreement that we wouldn’t embarrass Roy by blowing his doors off.
However, what we hadn’t taken into consideration was the Spitfire had far superior lighting – as opposed the  Prince of Darkness items [ courtesy of Joe Lucas ] that we had on the bikes !
 
Off Roy roared into the distance and after one or two chased after him, we gave up when one of our mates was forced to pull over with one of his carbs literally hanging off his T100. By the time we’d all sorted out our pockets for odd spanners, nuts and washers Roy was long gone.
 
Now the road to the Owl led through a heavily wooded area just before Passingford Bridge [ Fishing for Gold Stars ] and had warning notices showing Deer leaping into the lane – something I’d previously encountered on my sidecar outfit.
 
 
I guess it was about 30 minutes before we all got going again and decided to take it steady just in case our jury rigged repair didn’t hold up on mateys T100.
 
Just as well we did, as coming round one particular blind bend with high banking either side we came across Roy’s Spitfire, nose into the bank.
 
Roy swore that a Stag had leapt off the banking, pausing momentarily to put it’s feet on the seat of his car before leaping off to the other side of the road.
 
Well you can imagine the reaction to that “story” ………. Until someone looked into the car [ soft top down ] and saw 2 neat rips in his passenger seat and a distinct smell of animal urine ! Roy was somewhat shaken up by the incident but for a change – physically uninjured. We then all proceeded to the Caff where his car was checked out and found there was no more damage than a broken headlamp and slightly scuffed front panel.
 
A few  years later Roy bought the then new Triumph Stag !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: DUEX EX on Sep 12, 2011, 20:23:10
Spent most of last night and this evening after work reading this entire thread and im hooked.wow  :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 13, 2011, 09:42:54
Need your help guys. :D
 
As previously, I am going to collaborate with the artist John Hancox to produce an illustrated "Beachcomber's Tales from the Day" book. It'll be late next year, but we have already discussed the format and John is well up for it - he's already got plans for illustrations for some of the tales.
 
Now then, this is where you lot come in ............... I am pleased to say that I haven't had one negative comment about the tales, so I guess in general the opinion goes from couldn't care less - to "when's the next one".
 
I'm too close to these tales - having lived them, so I would like your help in a little poll to rate the tales in order of popularity [ or not ] so that we can develop a "running list" for the book.
 
So two things - first I don't know how to set up a poll :-[ , and second your input is essential. 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Sep 13, 2011, 13:27:29
In my opinion of the order for arrangement of the tales:

#1.  Pages 1-26.
#2.  Pages that haven't been written yet :) 

They are all golden.  It all reminds me of a favorite author I have name patrick mcmannus.  He writes outdoor humor from his childhood up thru his present life living in idaho.  The stories are not in chronological order, just sort of like him recalling them randomly over the course of about 6 books.  Great stuff, and not all of it is his own stories, but he also includes stories his friends experienced and relayed to him as well.

Whatever format it is, it will be spot on.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Sep 13, 2011, 13:51:22
Hmmm, I can see sitting in my bar/ pub in my basement with a pint or three reading said book. If I ever get over to Europe, I will do everything in my power to make a visit!

Beach, You mind throwing in some more stories about RAM, Shelby, racing, building, birds and so on?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 13, 2011, 16:33:08
Thanx for the kind words gents. I guess I was asking if there were any stories NOT of sufficient interest!
 
Hey Rat, you're welcome any time you make it to these shores - we always have a spare bedroom here - even more in Saxony [ 12 to be precise ! ].
 
Hell - the stories actually got wilder as I got older, but by that time all my stories revolved around cars and to be honest, I was a bit reluctant to post them on a bike specific forum. 
 
I spent some 12 years in an around Shelby's company initially through the RAM endorsement programme with Shelby American, then involved with the 3 way litigation [ Ford / Shelby / AC cars ] - working with Shelby natch. Finally, I was appointed European Liaison Executive for Shelby's Heart Fund.
 
I went to the 24 Hours du Mans for 21 years straight - as a spectator and then later organising Shelby's demonstration parade laps. We were even asked as a result of that to run a round of the RAM / Bardahl Cobra series as a precursor to the 24 hours race, but our tyre suppliers [ one make control tyre ] cried off as they were concerned what 10 laps of Le Mans - and especially the Mulsanne Straight [ pre chicanes ] would do to their tyres !! Those Le Mans trips alone could account for another book full of stories !
 
Anyway - let's see what others think - the thread is after all "Beachcomber's tales from the Day"..............
 
Here's a pic of Shelby driving our Cobra rep - the first one to bear his personal endorsement, with Sir Stirling Moss in the passenger seat and sports car driver Derek Bell MBE sitting on the tail.
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img474.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Sep 13, 2011, 21:10:48
Beachcomber, I for one would love hearing tales of the sports-car kind.
In the eighties I built/drag-raced a '70 Mach One, then built and autocrossed a '65 GT 350 R-model CLONE (a real one was out of my budget), then in the late eighties early nineties built/roadraced a '66 Spridget with a mighty 1275cc. LOL
I was always much faster on four wheels than two, so I "wasted" a lot of money on car racing, that could have gone into collecting nice bikes.  ; )
I used to go to the local Shelby meets in Tulsa OK every year, and had the pleasure of speaking with "Ol Shel" a few times. And being around some amazing machines.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 14, 2011, 06:13:55
Gents, I'm truly flattered that you might even think I have anything more interesting to relate.
 
I guess after all we are "Loungin' at the club" on these threads.
 
I'll wait for a few more positive responses before proceeding, and maybe a nod of approval from Tim who must be obeyed!
 
A taster coming up.
 
Mrs.B 3rd with our 8 months old Daughter Holly with our RAM Cobra outside the Hounaudierres Cafe on the Mulsanne straight immediately after a 160mph pass [ all 3 of us ] past the Cafe. We were bought drinks all afternoon for that stunt !!!! That's why Mrs.B's hair is a mess - she never forgave me for taking that pic before she had a chance to "freshen up2 !!!
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img008.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: haplo_84 on Sep 14, 2011, 23:24:05
I love your tales Beachcomber, 2 or 4 wheels it doesn't matter. My job actually has me around cars all day long since i work for GEICO as an auto damage adjuster. I get to see many cars in my line of work and sometimes motorcycles too. I'm waiting for that rogue porsche, jag, or ferrari. I don't to get to see many higher end cars cause most people that own them are considerably more careful with them cause they are so expensive (plus less people on them). I say you should proceed because if its mechanically related I'll love it.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 21, 2011, 06:33:24
One more bike related Tale coming up in the next 4 weeks.
 
Thinking of you Rat in your basement pub - this one is pub related - Let's call it - "Cafe Racers follow the dress code".
 
It's in a similar vein to the story with Mrs.B 2nd., the Jota and the country pub.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Sep 22, 2011, 11:22:54
read the entire thread,, truly inspirational!!
 
Hey quick question about the bikes in the day,  did you guys worry so much about the  "spit and polish"  or was function preceeding form??
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 22, 2011, 15:47:48
Southtown,
 
Glad you enjoyed the Tales - more to come !
 
re: the spit and polish. In the main the bikes were well prepped, painted and polished. Alloy was given the Solvol Autosol polish treatment on a weekly basis - there was a real pride in having a good looking engine / bike.
 
Even parts like carbs were given the high polish treatment - polishing cost very little only time - and money [ or lack of ] was a problem for most of us !
 
Most of us couldn't afford professional services like paint spraying, engine building, etc. so there was a healthy "barter" system in place.
 
There was more chance of seeing ratty tourers and commuter bikes than a Cafe Racer. Chrome was the biggest expense back then - not expensive compared to today -AND the quality was excellent [ triple chroming ].
 
Bikes were very simple - even I could sort out the wiring! So you would expect to convert a bike over a weekend - most had to as they needed the bike to commute to work Monday morning. Parts were also very cheap then [ as were bikes ] - so it was fairly easy to prep an engine, frame, tank and other parts and simply swap everything over.
 
Don't forget in the late 50's early 60's there were NO professional parts suppliers - Degens, Dunstall, Unity, et al all came later in the mid 60's.
 
We had guys who worked in machine and fabrication shops who would make a batch of alloy engine plates or rearsets in their dinner break [ or firm's time if nobody was looking ! ] and then sell or swap the parts over the weekend. My forte was engine building, and it was not unusual for me to be working on several Triumph, BSA, Norton engines at any one time in my spare bedroom !  I learnt how to become a competent sprayer, so that wa another barter element.
 
Of course not all bikes followed that formula of preparation - but you could tell the wannabe's from the real Cafe Racers by the state of their ride.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Sep 22, 2011, 16:52:55
Hey BC thanks for clearing that up for me lol.. i am a hugh fan of bartering.  I have had 10 bikes, only 2 at the moment,  and out of those 10 i have actually only paid cash for 1 of them!!  the rest I bartered for.  1. 82' Yamaha 750    2. 03' GSXR 750   3. 06' Roketa 200cc dual sport   4. 81 Suzuki GS650     5. 99' Kawasaki ninja 250     6. 82 kawasaki zx1100    7. 96' GSX750    8. 03 GSXR 600   9. 01 Yamaha FZ1   10. 82 Honda CB450T Hawk (my favorite)      9 and 10, i currently have.  the only one i paid for is the Yamaha FZ1!!
 
My wife hates it when i get in a bartering mood, never know what im going to come home with  lmao!  I tell her not to get too attached to stuff cause everything is up for trade lol !
 
And thank god for my step dad who is a machinist and is able to use the shop he works in  for any and all the side jobs he wants, if its in the scrap pile its free.  we made some killer pegs and controls for my brothers bobber out of the scrap pile.  my pegs, rearsets, shifter and brake levers, and grips are in the works now!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 23, 2011, 05:17:46
Exactly that Southtown - been a barterer [ is that a word ? ] all my life.
 
If you've followed any of my other posts you'll know I recently lost my storage garage and 5 of my projects had to go. However, there wasn't ONE that owed me any money for the donor, and more important sale of unwanted parts funded the project parts!
 
The sale of those projects has added hugely to the "pot" for the expensive items I need for the Cafe Racer - alloy rims and rebuild, tyres, special exhaust and one off Goldie silencer, stainless steel wheel spindles [ axles ] and spacers and so on.
 
Take my K100 /1100 hybrid Streetfighter. Paid £600 for it [ too much really ] as a good running bike. Sold of the fairings, panniers, seat, cowl, exhaust, footrest hangers and pegs, ABS system, heated grips for £750 !
 
Current TR1 Cafe Racer project - £500. sold off cast wheels, seat, cowl grab rail, side panels, centre stand [ £60 !! ], mudguards, tyres, lights - total £850.
 
My pal at Realm Engineering helps out with odd fabrication on the old pals basis - but I don't like to overload him as he has a business to run.
 
Yep barter works for me - and I would hazard a guess, there's many others out there on this forum !
 
Best barter ????????????? When I was 7 years old - swapped a lump of modelling clay for an A40 pedal car !!! That WAS with another 7 year old BTW.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Sep 23, 2011, 11:38:41
that was a deal of a lifetime lol ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 27, 2011, 08:16:31
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – Sept 2011
-          “ Café Racers follow the Dress Code”

Maybe the last one before Christmas as I hope THIS year to be off to Saxony – snow allowing !
 
OK, this one is in the same vein as the Tale of Mrs.B 2nd., the Jota and “the pub that doesn’t serve motorcyclists”
 
This time we’re going back to the Summer of ’66 – the Café Racer era is hitting somewhat of a plateau. What should have been “new blood” were being seduced by the new Mini, and cars that were plentiful and cheap. Bikes and Bikers were also getting bad press, courtesy of the Mods and Rockers duels [ mainly media fuelled ] of the previous years.
 
Bikes were suddenly “uncool” and society AND the pubs / caffs decided that bikers were no longer welcome – having kept their places going for the previous 5 years or so !
 
It wasn’t unusual when you went outside your own turf to find pubs and caffs with signs outside stating “No Coach parties – No Bikes”. This was especially annoying when you went for the rare long run – holidays to the coast etc. when a rest stop was essential – for rider and machine !
 
As a rule our crowd very rarely went into pubs [ whilst riding ] as balance and judgment are more critical on a bike than 4 wheels. Maybe one reason why so many of my mates were put in hospital, and sadly killed as a result of drunken car drivers.
 
However, there was one pub on the Southend Arterial road – just past the Blinking Owl – which was situated at a large roundabout that was the natural meeting place for bikers coming from several different directions. We’d often rendezvous in the huge car park, ready to take off for a night in Southend.
 
This particular pub didn’t have the obligatory – No Coach Parties – No bikes signs up, as they actively encouraged coaches to stop on their way to or from Southend.
 
When we were well into the FO Bikers period, this particular pub in an effort to discourage us bikers instigated a “dress code”  which involved  no leather jackets – smart dress and / or gentlemen to wear ties.
 
That was OK as we rarely went into the pub anyway, but they started to enforce this BS in the car park as well.
 
After a while this became intolerable, if only for losing the convenient meeting place. So it was time for retribution.
 
Most of us were known to the staff there from previous visits, so one of the lads went in and asked if we complied with the dress code, were we allowed in? Yes was the answer – so the seeds were sown.
 
Two weeks later, after we’d laid our plans – 30 of us turned up in various vans and cars on a busy Saturday evening when the coach crowds and locals were rammed in.
 
Our dress code was – White Dress shirt  [ starched front ], black bow ties, and a full length raincoat / overcoat. The staff welcomed us in saying how nice it was to see us all dressed up – no doubt thinking of the 30 x 5 or 6 pints we’d all be drinking. Most of us had to borrow the gear from older Brothers. Dads – as the clothing was somewhat alien to our culture ! A few couldn’t find suitable footwear so resorted to biker boots, but that was accepted by the pub as they could see we’d all made a big effort.
 
The pub had by this time grown into one of the first to offer food at the tables in the main bars, so there were the attendant waiters and staff on hand and the kitchen doing a roaring trade.
 
We all crowded to the bar area to order our drinks, much to the amazement of the pub staff and customers – it WAS the height of Summer, and there we all were in full length overcoats ………………………………………
See where this is going ?????? They didn’t.
 
So, we ordered up 30 odd pints of draught beer before a curious waiter asked if he could take our coats to the cloakroom for us.
 
That was the cue for thirty odd hairy arsed bikers to remove their topcoats to reveal – well, NOTHING underneath, except the dress shirt front and bow tie !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
There was much mayhem and screaming, whilst we casually put our coats back on and walked out leaving 30 odd pints of beer on the bar top.
 
Years later when I was passing the area, I noted the pub had been demolished and had been replaced by blocks of flats – karma.
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Sep 27, 2011, 11:19:54
Hey its better in the wind, right?! That's great stuff there...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Sep 28, 2011, 15:11:26
Gotta love a man of action!!!  ;D ;D
 
Speaking of draught beer, whats your drink of choice BC??  or anyone else for that matter.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 28, 2011, 18:58:17
Hey Southtown, guess my taste buds have changed over the years, but about 8 years ago I was spending a lot of time doing auto design consultancy work in Saxony.
 
I fell in love with the place and with silly cheap property prices [ I DO mean silly cheap ] I bought a place there just north of Dresden.
I'm sure you are aware of the German passion for beer making [ and drinking! ], and that was something I soon became involved in.
 
Every year now I host a Pig Roast in the summer for a growing band of friends and 5 years ago I was introduced to the guy that owns one of the top independant brewers in a place called Bautzen near the Czech / Polish border.
 
I guess it's safe to say that his brews are amongst my favourites now....... sadly not available outside of Saxony - so we just go over there as often as we can !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Sep 29, 2011, 00:51:17
Ahhhhh Micro Beer.

I rarley if ever drink regular beer any more.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Sep 30, 2011, 10:53:00
We used to have a pig roast every year a close friend of the family owns a pub in town. We would go over to his house in the summer and blow a keg then shoot trap, hinsight says its probably not the safest thing to do but it sure was fun.
 
But in large part when I do have a beer or two I ALWAYS try to get something different, I will then take a single bottle from the pack and place it in quite a large collection of all the different brews I have tried.  I do alot of microbrews and I try to get the ones made locally, some are good and of course some are not. LOL.  My brothers and I make a lot of brews too but again, some are good and some are not lol.  When my wife and I go out its hard to find micros then I get Guinness Drought for the most part.
 
I did get a nice bottle of what we call here "moonshine" or "white lightnin" and I was pleasantly supprised about how smooth it was.  So I have been inspired to build my own still and try my hand at it as well.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: kroonoverdrive on Sep 30, 2011, 12:30:34
So I just finished reading this 28 page thread after a few days.


I just want to thank all involved especially beach comber for giving us young guns a history lesson (in a good way). I really have enjoyed your tales (inspiring).


I would definetly read a book with tales such as these inside.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Sep 30, 2011, 12:33:03
I also opt for Guinness when a good micro isn't available. Around me we have highland brewing co and they make some good stout.  It hasn't been that long ago that they were a small local label but I think they are regional now.  Always fresh stuff.  Don't care for the big brands tho. Budweiser seems oily and varies to much on taste, don't like corona or any other light beer for that matter. If I can see thru it, its not good enough. One exception is Newcastle.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Sep 30, 2011, 13:32:09
I also opt for Guinness when a good micro isn't available. Around me we have highland brewing co and they make some good stout.  It hasn't been that long ago that they were a small local label but I think they are regional now.  Always fresh stuff.  Don't care for the big brands tho. Budweiser seems oily and varies to much on taste, don't like corona or any other light beer for that matter. If I can see thru it, its not good enough. One exception is Newcastle.

yeah im not a light beer fan either,,  I had a Blue Moon pumpkin seasonal the other day and those were pretty good, little sweeter than what I normally go for but it wasnt bad for a wheat.
 
The only time I drink budweiser anymore is when its free lol.
 
We have a casino near where I work and they have a brew pub inside which has a really good black lager cheap called "Hardball" 24oz drought for $4!!!  My work partner and I have a drink after work occasionally,, 3 of those and im good to go lol.
 
BTW! Does anyone wanna share any good brew recipes???
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 01, 2011, 07:48:37
So I just finished reading this 28 page thread after a few days.


I just want to thank all involved especially beach comber for giving us young guns a history lesson (in a good way). I really have enjoyed your tales (inspiring).


I would definetly read a book with tales such as these inside.

Thanx Kroon,

that was the whole purpose of starting this thread - to give folks under 50 an idea of what it was like in the beginnings of the Cafe Racer era. Actually, anyone under 60 would have virtually missed the Golden years.
I spoke with the Artist John Hancox during the week, and he's busy putting the finishing touches to images for the DTT Calendar and one-off prints. He's also committed to producing artwork and cartoons to go with "The Book".

I'm also busy revamping Tales for inclusion, in addition to collecting a few Tales from other folk - plus there'll be some new stuff from my memory banks.

Hell, looks like we've alrady got pre-orders for at least 5 books !!!!!!!!!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Morgan on Oct 01, 2011, 23:17:26
Consider it seven pre-orders. My dad is from that era and while he was a car guy rather than a biker (he still misses his mini) he will love the stories and of course I'll be needing a copy for myself too.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 02, 2011, 06:31:15
Consider that done Morgan - guess I'll have to make some time to do some autographed copies for my DTT mates ;)
 
John is very busy at the moment - his artistic interests are not just automotive and he's a talented artist in the real sense of the word.
 
I just happen to be very fortunate that he has a passion for the era and the bikes.
 
He "knows" the bikes first hand - and is well aware of the subtle differences between each model.
 
I'm shooting for completion about this time next year - earlier if I can.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Oct 02, 2011, 11:15:35
Consider it 8 pre orders! I already told my wife I want a copy of this when its available.  I may have to get my dad a copy too cause he grew up on 2 wheels in central Florida in the 60's.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: cyclefreak on Oct 02, 2011, 11:21:47
Add another pr-order for me. I'm sure there will be many more from this site alone!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 02, 2011, 18:56:13
Consider it 8 pre orders! I already told my wife I want a copy of this when its available.  I may have to get my dad a copy too cause he grew up on 2 wheels in central Florida in the 60's.

Jeez guys, I'll have to up the initial print run into double figures at this rate !!!!

Seriously, nearer the publishing date I'll organise something to get pre-orders out to a drop ship address for you guys out there in DTT land.

With da management's permission I'll try to get something DTT orientated into the mix.

Maybe we'll use one or two of the DTT Calendar prints in the book. Everyone seems to like the one of a certain XS650 !!!!!!!

I might even be very selfish and make the other one my old Manx / Goldie which John is currently revamping. Attached the "work in progress" print - John wasn't happy with it and is working it over. BTW - mine is the "Black" one - ex-race bike.
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img239.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Oct 06, 2011, 10:35:36
Love the art work!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 06, 2011, 11:47:20
Yes and this was one he wasn't happy with !!!!
 
I have to say that the one of Tim's XS650 set the benchmark - everyone [ including John ] says it absolutely captures the era - both bike and rendering.
 
For that reason he is going back over all the work he's done to date for the DTT Calendar [ Norvin, Bonnie, Goldie, Matchless CSR, Connie, Rocket Gold Star and BMW Airhead and my Manx / Goldie] to put some "atmosphere" in them.
 
Looks like the calendar will now be available for next year, with individual prints from the calendar being available on heavy art card for framing from the New Year.
 
At our meeting last week we also discussed the possibilty of mugs and Tee's.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Oct 06, 2011, 20:15:29
I would totally rock a "vintage" RAM shirt/s Jags, Cobras, Bikes!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: southtownrecords on Oct 10, 2011, 11:11:41
put me down for a tee as well!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 19, 2011, 07:19:00
I've now had the OK from da management to incorporate DTT referrences in the Book, artwork and Tees. 8)
 
John already has quality Tees done for his other artwork interests - so he has a good connection with the garment suppliers and the printers.
 
I'm hoping to get a couple of samples made up this side of Christmas.
 
Also this side of Christmas - one more Tale, this one from my sidecar days  ::) [ roadgoing ].
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: bluenose bomber on Oct 25, 2011, 18:43:33
I'd  take two  and a T as well.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 30, 2011, 11:32:16
wow, just had 10 of the revamped John Hancox artwork prints...........I'll post 1 or 2 with John's permission. Oh boy....the BMW racer and Constellation had me in awe.
 
OK ......... probably the last Tale before Christmas. If my plans DO work this year I WILL be in Saxony for the holidays. As long as we don't get our airports closed down with snow again like last year!
 
Anyway - as promised this one has a Sidecar flavour..................
 
 
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day - November 2011

“Chariots- or 3 Wheels on my Wagon”.
 
This tale finds the young [ ‘ish ] Beachcomber with a Wife, newborn Daughter and the beginnings of respectability – ie house, job – general responsibilities.
 
The solos [ roadgoing at least ] had temporarily given way to a hybrid sidecar outfit – as usual born from what was lying around in the garage – Triumph Ton-Ten frame [ result of liberating the 650 lump for yet another Tribsa ], Constellation engine / box and sidecar trail Constellation forks. Naturally with clip-ons, rearsets, Goldie 5gall GRP tank – the usual kit. This was attached to a Garrard Grand Prix chair with the luxury of sidecar brake and all running on 16” alloy rimmed spoke wheels all round with ex. Race sidecar tyres – courtesy of Chris Vincent via Tom Kirby ! The whole bike was so low that when you looked from the sidecar side – the bike wasn’t visible!
 
Why the chair? Well at 7 months pregnant Mrs. B [1st] was too damn big to fit on my newly acquired ex. Bob McIntyre / Ray Knight Thruxton Connie. The “bump” caused her to sit right on the very back and after one or two near misses with her nearly disappearing off the seat safer transport was deemed a good idea.
 
Sure, I still had the race transport van – but it’s not a bike is it? I’d had several forays on the race track with a chair and quite liked the idea – AND you got 50% discount on your insurance when you fitted a chair.
 
There were 6 of us “Charioteers” in our mob – John Barker’s Rocket Gold Star / Steib, Pete Collins AJS 650 CSR / Monaco and some rich kid with a 500cc   BMW / Steib [ what else ! ], and my mate Maurice – BSA / Monza - he of the Cemetery Tale and a very good old pal Micky Carpenter who had a brand new BMW 650 / Steib - courtesy of a drunk car driver putting him in hospital and Micky ending up with a permanently locked left leg.
 
We were no where near quick enough to stay with the solo lads on the straights, but could give them a good run for their money when the twisty bits came up – and especially if it rained ! So, we tended to end up “racing” each other – another reason for Mrs. B to bail out. Dave Barker went on to race on the Island and UK Club events. Dave and I were pretty evenly matched, but that had a great deal to do with my engine performance rather than my skill.
 
One advantage charioteers had [ generally ] was the ability to take an additional passenger – which was great for social events - but not so good when it came to burn-ups! Me and Dave didn’t have that problem as we both had single race seats ! We also had our outfits set up as circuit race outfits using loads of sidecar wheel lead and toe out. They were mighty around the bends and especially the roundabouts. We could even give stock Bonnies and Rockets a run for their money on the “lay-bye” circuit with the two big roundabouts at each end. Hoof – you’d have been proud of the full on drifts around them! That’s where we made up the ground on the solos. For my US and Canadian cousins, the chair was on the left – and of course driving on the left then roundabouts became enormous right hand [ ie drifting ] bends.
 
Anyway, that sets the scene for this Tale. Another beautiful sunny evening after a day down at Southend soaking up the atmosphere and we all found our way back to the lay-bye for a Hot Dog  and a wind down before trundling off home. I ended up with one of the temporarily bikerless lads in the chair, with strict instructions to hang out over the seat or chair wheel when prompted. After the 3rd time the sidecar wheel aviated to the point of about 30 degrees on left handers – he suddenly got the survival instinct and hung out over the chair wheel like a pro.
By now I’d moved out of Grandma’s and had a maisonette in a little village called Hornchurch. The route from the lay-bye to Hornchurch involved riding down most of the lay-bye route to Gallows Corner where a further mile down the dual carriageway I’d turn off on a direct route to Hornchurch. In those days this was still somewhat of a twisty narrow road and strangely de-restricted [ speed ] for most of the way. Dave and BMW man both took this route home, so around 2 o’clock in the morning we were all heading back in convoy. Just as we pulled up at the lights waiting to turn off on the Hornchurch road a bunch of guys in a Ford Anglia [ 105E – NOT the Pop ] came past us way too fast to catch the lights turning Green and clipped Dave’s sidecar wheel – giving him an instant puncture – AND a fiberglass repair bill ! We checked that Dave was OK and then gave chase to the Anglia lads to have a short, sharp discussion with them about their driving. By the time we had sorted Dave out – the car driver was well down the lane and my outfit was the only one quick enough to catch them – which we did on a long sweeping left hander at the bottom of a hill. You could almost see the look of horror in the driver’s eyes when he saw my outfit catching him at a fair rate of knots – he then tried to take the bend way too fast for his basically family car and totally lost it, demolishing a low brick wall on a house on the outside of the bend and ending up in a pond in the front garden.
 
Ooooops, best get out of here. After a cursory glance to make sure all the occupants were at least in one piece – I decided not to get involved with the inevitable interrogation by plod. Just as I was pulling away a coincidentally passing Police car came round the bend from the other direction to witness the mayhem – and my unmistakable outfit!
 
So the rest of the journey home was undertaken at warp factor 3 and the chair put away in my garage for a few weeks for the heat to die down. Oh yes, my partner in crime passenger had to walk home !
 
The event made the local papers with rabid headlines of “Reckless young car driver demolishes wall after burn up”. Several weeks later when my outfit was back on the road – albeit with a colour change from Silver to Red [ !! ] – I was pulled over by plod in Hornchurch high street and indeed given a delayed third degree about where I’d been on that morning, etc. However, I just denied everything and that was that.
 
Yes sidecars are immense fun. What you also have to remember is that in the late 50’s sidecars were seen as daily transport for the “working man”. As the 50’s gave way to the swinging 60’s – cheap cars like the Mini and Anglia + the universally available “drip” [ credit ] meant that the family man could now afford to give up the sidecar [ and to a degree solos ] in favour of cheap and comparatively reliable 4 wheel motoring.
 
Funnily enough whilst drafting up this tale I had a trawl on E-bay and found a Monza sidecar for £50 ……. [ $90 US ?]………no, no, no , no, NO, NO………maybe? 
 
 
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Nov 06, 2011, 01:01:44
I honestly had no idea how cool sidecar racing was until I saw some action on thethe track at barber this year.  Kinda making me want to fit a chair myself... and with a baby due in march it would make perfect sense to be able to take the missus and lil pooper along on rides right? Great story, I really am eager for the book to come along sometime as well. Just got a copy of "ace times,"I and have really enjoyed giving it a read too for all the history.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Nov 06, 2011, 01:30:05
I honestly had no idea how cool sidecar racing was until I saw some action on thethe track at barber this year.  Kinda making me want to fit a chair myself... and with a baby due in march it would make perfect sense to be able to take the missus and lil pooper along on rides right? Great story, I really am eager for the book to come along sometime as well. Just got a copy of "ace times,"I and have really enjoyed giving it a read too for all the history.

The perfect transport!  I ran around for a long time on a Triton/Watsonian.  The better half loved it as she didn't have to hang on to me.  Plus you can carry things that you can't with a solo.

(http://img522.imageshack.us/img522/5324/img110vc3.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2007-12-05
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 06, 2011, 08:46:24
Jeeeez Hoof,

everytime I see your outfit I get the urge again ! I came across a picture of John Barker's first road outfit in one of the Cafe Racer / Rocker books. I'll scan it and try to upload.

There's several old sports chairs been coming up on E-Bay recently - quite cheap - £100 - £200. ::) ::)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 09, 2011, 07:10:17
BTW Hoof, only kidding about the Ural ! My ultimate swansong [ should Ilive long enough ! ] WILL be the Max Deubel sitter outfit. I spoke again to the guys that have the relevant moulds and they are still sticking to £250 the set  [ $400 ?]. It's all this talk of chairs and seeing your masterpiece Triton outfit !

Where I've got my place in Saxony you see loads of MZs, Urals, etc. lurking around in old barns / sheds. Whereas the old Eastern Block cars have started to become "collectors" pieces [ with collectors prices ! ] , bikes have just been consigned to the back of the shed. I came accross a good Ural [ if that's not an oxymoron ] 2 villages away from us, and when the guy saw me nosing around it offered it to me for 250 euros - again I was tempted.

Anyroadup - I "bumped into" an old mate from my biking days [courtesy of the Interweb ] and we had a long and rose tinted chat. The outcome was that he reminded me of several more "Tales" - some worth the telling. Maybe a final one before Christmas?

BTW - the "book" has now progressed to a rough story board format, and John Hancox is also sharpening his pencil in anticipation............... 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 13, 2011, 07:10:50
OK - there WILL be one more Tale this side of Christmas, and befittingly [ new word ] it involves a pal and a Christmas Romance [ read "lust" ]. Bikes involved, but mainly about youthful lusting after the fair sex.

"John, the fabulous Eurasian bird and the Araldite"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 14, 2011, 05:35:40
well here's the Christmas Tale - a bit early, but I hope to be in Snowy Saxony this year for the Christmas festivities.

 Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day
“John, the fabulous Eurasian Bird and the Araldite” – November 2011

So here we are back in 1964 – the single [ as in not married ] Beachcomber and mates are enjoying a spectacularly good Summer of riding, fun and birds.

Work got in the way somewhat as I was at this time still working for other people – but that didn’t stop us enjoying our free time from Friday night and on through the weekend.

Usually Fridays were reserved for some serious riding with mates – up the lay-bye to see if there were any races to be had, or any challenges to be thrown down and then off to one or more of the rural Caffs. Usually things would quieten down by 2.0am ‘ish and most of us would head off home to recoup for Saturday’s fun and frollicks.

Generally, we wouldn’t venture too far on a Saturday – Southend sea front maybe, but usually back on our home turf by late afternoon. Why, when there was still riding to do? Well, Saturday night was Wykham Corn Exchange night [ local dance hall ], where we’d all gather to dance and more importantly attempt to score with the opposite sex ! So Saturday it was important to be home around 6.0 ‘ish to get ourselves spiv’d up for the night. It also allowed those of us that did drink to do just that as in the Winter months the bikes were left at home and you did your best to get a seat in a pal’s car.

Very few of the lads owned a car / van, but a few had older Brother’s that could be persuaded or bribed to loan their wheels out. One such was my pal John, another of the biker fraternity that never owned a bike, he was quite happy to grab a pillion ride any time he could. Saturday night the boot was on the other foot as his older Brother owned a Bedford Dormobile caravanette – a compact motorized shagging wagon ! The beauty of this particular vehicle was that there was no need to play contortionist if you did get lucky, as it had 2 pull down beds – and a cooker – and a chemical toilet, what more could your randy biker need? John and his Brother were very close and as he was some 6 years older than John he recognized the needs of early 20’s something blokes and was quite happy for his Dormobile to be used. The golden rule was that it was returned in one piece and full of petrol.

John was one of those lucky bastards that didn’t have to make any effort to pull a bird – they all but threw themselves at him. Naturally I made it a priority to give John as many pillion rides as he asked for, so that Saturday nights I was first in the queue for a seat [ bed ] in the Dormobile !

The Wycham attracted some up and coming live bands [ no fargin DJ’s there ] – people like Joe Brown, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Screaming Lord Such ……….Oh yes and some other blokes - Long John Baldry, Eric Clapton, and Jeff Beck. The night was split in 2 sessions – a support group followed by an interval [ spent at the Golden Lion across the road ], and then the main attraction. The plan was to pull a likely bird before half time,  get her into the mood with a few Scrumpy Ciders and then cement the liaison during the second half and then hopefully into the Dormobile and off to one of Essex’ quiet leafy lanes.

Now as stated, John didn’t have to work hard at this – in fact 9 times out of 10 he’d have birds taking HIM to the pub at half time. Never hurt to tag along with John in times like these as there was nearly always a surplus. Yes the unwritten rule was that one of the gang of girls would be a dog, but if you got in quick ………………

Anyway John was so used to getting birds fall at his feet, it came as quite a shock when a fabulous Eurasian bird turned up at the Wycham one night and despite John’s best efforts, she’d have nothing to do with him. John was  so depressed by this rebuff that he didn’t even bother to get a second string bird for later.

A week later and John was still moaning about not getting this bird and generally getting on every one’s tits. Then one of the lads contacted me to say he’d seen said bird working in a store in Romford. Anyway, come Saurday and John went into the shop to see if he could persuade the girl to go the Wycham with him to the evening dance. He managed to persuade her that it was a proper date and that he really liked her, and she accepted. He called me at mid afternoon to ask if I could give him a pillion to go to pick his best suit up from the cleaners as he really wanted to make a good impression.

I had my roadgoing Tribsa at the time with a neat high cross-over Siamese exhaust exiting into a Goldie silencer on the right side. We made uneventful progress up to the Moby Dick roundabout – the scene of various Tales and situated at one end of the lay-bye. I couldn’t resist winding it up round the island, scraping the pegs and silencer on the way round. All was well until we came round the last part of the bend to find a fresh spill of diesel from one of the many lorries that used the arterial road. This was quite common in the 60’s before lorry emissions were tightened up. Anyway, down went the Tribsa in an even bigger shower of sparks, fortunately we didn’t hit anything and nothing hit us. Before the bike had fully come to rest I spotted that the end of the Goldie cone had broken off and was lying in the middle of what was a busy 2 lane road. I managed to retrieve that before anyone ran over it, and it was only then that I realised John was grubbing around on his hands and knees in the middle of the road, obviously dazed. I went over to him, but no he wasn’t dazed, he was looking for his crown from his front tooth that had come off in the crash !

I tried to pull him out of the road to stop him getting hit by traffic, but he insisted on looking for the broken tooth. As luck would have it he spotted it just before a car was about to run over it, almost getting squitted in the process.

“That was a pretty stupid thing to do, you could have got yourself killed” I offered. “Can’t go out on this date tonight with no front tooth” said the indignant John. “Fuck your tooth,” quoth I “look at my Goldie silencer”.

Anyway we collected John’s suit and I dropped him off at his place to get ready. A couple of hours later I went back round to get a lift to the dance and John came to the door really distressed. “I can’t go out with that bird like this” John said – I told him he looked fine, and he did until he opened his mouth to reveal a huge gap where his crown had been ! Too late for a dentist [ and too expensive ] – what to do ? Well, this wondrous stuff called Araldite [ or was it Loy ? ] had just become available on the market [ no rapid Araldite for another 35 years ], so I suggested that we fix his tooth with that. I tried to reason with him - “If it can fix my gearbox housing it can fix your bloody tooth”.

By this time he was desperate and willing to try anything. So off I went home again to get my tube of Araldite.

By the time I got back time was running out – only an hour to the appointed meet. So, we stuck the tooth back in place with a dob of Araldite, with strict instructions to keep his mouth clamped shut to give it time to set – hopefully. Remember this was in the early 60’s and the setting time for this adhesive was 24 hours ! It also gave new meaning to the phrase “glue sniffing “. So with John’s teeth clamped firmly shut we set off for the dance and the meeting with the girl of his desires.

Everything went reasonably well initially and I explained to fabulous Eurasian bird’s equally fabulous sister that John had lost his voice [ in 3 hours ???? ] and that was why he was talking like a ventriloquist. This somehow made John even more appealing to her and by half time in the pub she didn’t need any scrumpy to get her in the mood. As a bonus her sister thought I was an absolute saint for looking after him while he was ill.

So there we stood around the bar having a pint of Somerset’s best and John forgot all about the keeping teeth clamped instructions and was openly happy and smiling with the thought of things to come. I stood there in horror watching him as he was quite oblivious to his crown slowly sliding off the peg – obviously loosened by the alchohol. It seemed to happen in slow motion – the 3 of us were facing John and the look on the sister’s faces was like something out of a horror film. John was blissfully unaware of this and continued to smile at the girls, until the inevitable happened and the tooth fell into his pint glass.

Now really that should have been the end of it, but no - after we explained what had happened [ the truth for a change ]  and the fact that John would do anything not to miss the date, and I of course had played an important role in that – the girls were sold.

Modesty forbids the telling of the next 4 hours antics in the Dormobile, but eventually everyone went home with a smile on their face !

And what became of fabulous Eurasion bird ? Well they got married a year later – I was the best man and the sister was the bridesmaid – and you KNOW the unwritten law about the best man and the bridesmaid right??

 (http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/100_1797.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 09, 2011, 06:14:04
That's definitely it for 2011.

There's quite a few more for next year, but with any luck I'm off to Saxony very shortly for my first German Christmas.

Hope you've all enjoyed the tales, I certainly enjoyed re-living them.

I now have all the new artwork from John Hancox for the Calendars and bike prints - and the story board has been completed for the "Book". John will be drawing up some suitable artwork to compliment the tales.

I also hope to have DTT Tees and mugs available with John's inimitable art. Final negotiations will be under way early in the New Year with da management to discuss marketing.

Happy Christmas all, and a healthy and happy New Year.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Dec 09, 2011, 15:36:25
Great story BC, as are all of them  ;) ;) ;). Hope you have a very merry Christmas......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 24, 2011, 05:48:48
A few more tales heading this way in the New Year and for those who have expressed an interest - the "Book" is progressing nicely. Most of the tales have been re-written, with a little more detail and John Hancox has promised some exciting cartoon style artwork to accompany them.

There will be some "guest" tales [ with permission of course ] - Hoof and others sharpen your quills up !

Here's wishing you all a Happy Christmas and a Healthy New Year - may it bring you what you want.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 11, 2012, 06:49:32
First one for the New Year coming up soon - "The Connie, the New Boss and first day at work"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 11, 2012, 09:23:29
HERE IT IS GUYS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day”“The Connie, the New Boss and the first day at the new job”

A little backgrounder here on the social status in the UK in the late 50’s early 60’s.

There was without doubt a class distinction hangover from before the war – you had your “working class” [ Blue collar ], Middle Class [ white collar ], then you had the upper class who were minor aristocracy, ex. Generals and Admirals and the like and general toffs. Each "class" generally moved / socialized / married within their own circle of social demographics.

This applied to all walks of life and none more so than your working environment. Top management or company executives / owners would be Upper Class, middle management would be middle class – then you had oiks like me at the bottom. Within the working class there was a fierce sub-division – manual workers and “office” workers. The Office workers perceived the manual workers as lazy toe rags and the manual workers saw the office workers as a total waste of space they could well do without. In reality of course neither one could do without the other – which was also the case all the way up to the top !

Only on the shop floor were workers called by their Christian names [ apart from foremen / shop managers ] – everywhere else within industry it was surnames or when you were talking up a class it was  Mr…… or Sir.

So, when the young and rebellious Beachcomber was still working for others it was a given that these rules would be bent or broken. With a finely honed sense of sarcasm and a reasonable way with words – these pompous pricks would often get their verbal come-uppance.

It was with this background that the 20 year old Beachcomber became the youngest ever Grade 1 Draughstman at the local Electricity Board [ energy supplier ].  With collar length bright red hair, the interview was touch and go – as all the other inmates had the traditional “short back and sides” haircut. But the interview was passed successfully and a start date set for the beginning of the next month.

At that time the transport was either the trusty old JU250 race bike transporter or the Ex. Bob Mac Connie. The formal dress for the drawing office was either a suit [ mainly for younger draughtsmen ] and as you got further up the tree – or just older – tweed jackets with leather arm patches, checked shirts [ with tie of course ] and cavalry Twill trousers seemed to be the uniform.

The JU250 was having one of it’s quite frequent head gasket changes, so the Connie was pressed into service for the 10 mile commute to the workplace.

Wanting to make an impression [ ?? ] and dressed in a smart double breasted Blazer, Drainpipe trousers, and Eaton Clubman Brothel Creeper shoes, the eager Beachcomber set off for his first day at work.

All was going quite normally until a traffic jam was encountered on a small lane leading to the offices. Naturally with the bike filtering on the inside and outside was not a problem to get to the head of the queue [ line ]. Around half way down and swapping to the inside a guy with a bristling moustache with 3 young girls [ 18 – 20 ] decided to take offence  - initially by pumping his horn and then by moving his car over forcing the Connie into a ditch to impress his lady passengers!

Not impressed the now covered in mud and grass Beachcomber crawled out of the ditch to confront matey. Now while he was in the safety of his tin box he was very brave, but he made the fatal error of winding his window down to administer  “a good talking to “. Seconds later his head and shoulders were halfway out of the car and pinned as he was – a smart and none too shabby right hook caught him under the chin and laid him out.

Another motorcyclist stopped to give a hand to extricate the Connie from the ditch so the journey could be completed. Fortunately apart from grass and mud everywhere, the bike was undamaged. While all this was going on the car was still immobile [ as was the driver ] and the traffic ahead had cleared, whilst the jam behind now went on for over a mile !

That was in fact the main access to the facility and most of the cars were in fact driven by workers there.

Needless to say most were late for work that Monday morning.

So arriving at the complex the Connie was parked up in a convenient place by the main doors so it would be safe in full view and on up to the Drawing office – stopping off via the washroom to get rid of as much mud and grime as possible.

Having explained the lateness to the Chief Draughtsman he accepted the reason as it was backed up by 5 other drawing office staff who were delayed by the same incident ! In fact there was much muttering under breath and general finger pointing on the way to the drawing board station.

The Drawing Office was in fact a division of the Engineering Department and the tradition was that all new staff would have a one to one introductory pep talk by the Chief Engineer. Normally this was conducted as soon as you made yourself at home so that the law of the land could be laid down as to behavior, dress code, hours, etc.

The morning wore on without the heart to heart with the Chief Engineer and nervous looks between the Chief Draughtsman and his Boss and again finger pointing in my direction.

Eventually the call came and the march up to the next floor where the upper management had their offices began. This route went by the secretarial office pool, where the 3 young girls from the morning’s incident were working. Again – much giggling and pointing of fingers and to my astonishment a few blown kisses !

Outside the Chief’s office now and a swift rap on the door brought forth a muffled “come in”. In fact so muffled that a second, louder rap on the door followed by an almost bellow – totally unintelligible.

OK so who guessed ? Yes on opening the door there was the very guy I had laid out in his car that morning ! His jaw was virtually immoveable and there were obviously several missing teeth.

And to add a little salt in the wound? The place where I had parked the Connie just happened to be his private executive car parking space.

Hmmmm. what outcome ? Would the Beachcomber have set a new record for being fired before he started? Well no, in actual fact the arsehole had so embarrassed himself in front of his posse of popsies, he held out his hand and apologized !

Just before the door closed after the interview, he did ask politely if I would park the Connie in a different place the next day.

How to become a hero in your workplace before you even start.

The Electricity Board went on to be my personal “perk” for the next 9 months until I just couldn’t stand it any longer. There’s a whole bunch of stories there, but only one bike related.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: haplo_84 on Jan 11, 2012, 20:16:07
I always love reading your stories!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jan 12, 2012, 01:01:36

Only on the shop floor were workers called by their Christian names [ apart from foremen / shop managers ] – everywhere else within industry it was surnames or when you were talking up a class it was  Mr…… or Sir.
and as you got further up the tree – or just older – tweed jackets with leather arm patches, checked shirts [ with tie of course ] and cavalry Twill trousers seemed to be the uniform.

Apart from a good giggle you brought back a flood of memories.   The first job I had when I went to Ireland was with a small engineering supply company in Dublin.  With the exception of a huge RAF mustache you described the managing director to a T.   And like you say christian names to the sods on the floor and Mr. to everyone else.  Lots of stories but none bike related.

Edward Turner (of Triumph designing fame) insisted that everyone call each other Mr.  He said that way it made it easier to fire someone.  It would be more difficult if you were on a first name basis.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 12, 2012, 05:37:59
Glad that stirred some memories Hoof...........you just had to be there right ?

I'm sure you also retaliated against the system.

Favourites [ universal? ] was to stuff apples up the exhaust pipes of cars, hang fish next to the radiator - whatever you could do to "get even".

During my business life [ as owner ] for the past 40 + years I made it a point to shake hands with my staff morning and evening - a hangover from my Francophilia. Not a line up , but as I went around the shop floor in the course of the day. At one point I employed 15 people, but still made the point, even with the trainees.

It's VERY difficult for people to hold grudges / harbour anger when confronted by someone who shakes their hand and has a polite hello / goodbye for them. You have to look the person in the eye when shaking hands - I found it takes the sting out of many awkward situations.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jan 12, 2012, 15:56:09
Very true.  You had to be there to understand the class system.  Still very much alive in Ireland (and probably England). My Boss, Fred (but never to his face), mustachioed, tweed jacketed, cavalry twilled, pipe smoking gnat that he was wouldn't acknowledge anyone who hadn't been there at least 20 years.  The only time he acknowledged my existance was when I forgot to wear tie one day.  Each time he walked past my desk I would get a couple of harumphs and he continue wherever he was going.  He really as a pompous git.

My favorite was a trick my Dad taught me.  It works best on singles.  Take a small piece of paper and chew it up so its nice and soft and wet.  Stick it up the plug cap and replace the cap.  Water being a conductor will carry the spark but as the engine warms up it will dry out and insulate the spark from the plug.  This allows the bike to run fo a mile or so and then die without any visible reason.  Subtly evil.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Jan 12, 2012, 21:39:57
OOooohhhh Hoof, I like that. Along the same vein as the block of frozen Limburger cheese on the intake manifold of a car. ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jan 12, 2012, 22:06:06
Most cars today have the hood release in the car.

How about a rag in the gas tank. The pump will pull the rag up and stop the car. When the car stops the rag will float away.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: joeybaggadonuts on Jan 12, 2012, 22:18:24
can't believe I just found this thread!  I'm already hooked on your stories.  I love listening to peoples stories, and you, sir, have some great stories! i'll be reading
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.E on Jan 13, 2012, 00:18:51
That's another good one! Beach,  you did in that story what most of us dream of getting away with! Outstanding...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 13, 2012, 06:42:33
Most cars today have the hood release in the car.

How about a rag in the gas tank. The pump will pull the rag up and stop the car. When the car stops the rag will float away.

Guess you'd have to be more inventive these days - half a pound of sugar in the gas tank usually works.

 At the turn of the decade  [ 50's-60's ] most cars still had an external bonnet [ hood ] release. Hoof's Dad's wet paper trick also worked with cars of course ! Most of these jolly japes weren't intended to cause lasting damage [ or expense ] - just inconvenience.

There is actually one Tale I might indulge myself in relating to the Electricity Board - nudging on bike related. Any interest ?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jan 13, 2012, 08:42:37
Do you think ANYONE here would say no?

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: joeybaggadonuts on Jan 13, 2012, 14:09:26
Interested!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jan 13, 2012, 16:36:24
Most of these jolly japes weren't intended to cause lasting damage [ or expense ] - just inconvenience.

We had a guy in school with a fairly newish Triumph.  Our bikes were trash as far as he was concerned and he spent most of the day telling us so.  On one lunch break I slipped out to the parking lot and took off his rear chain.  Put it in a bag and into my locker.  After school we watched him start the bike and into gear and NOTHING!  He looked around, tried all the gears and we stood there laughing at him and him cursing us but he never copped that the chain was missing.

Thoroughly pissed off he went back into the school to call his Dad to come pick him up.  While he was doing that I had the chain between some books I was carrying and I carefully slid it out under the bike to try and make it look like it had simply come off.  When his dad arrived with a his pick up he immediately spotted the chain and proceeded to call his son all the dumb shit names he could think of.  While the son was trying to tell him it wasn't there when he started the bike.  His dad put the chain back on and he rode the bike home.  But it took an awful long time to live it down and it did shut him up.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 14, 2012, 13:20:09
We had a guy in school with a fairly newish Triumph.  Our bikes were trash as far as he was concerned and he spent most of the day telling us so.  On one lunch break I slipped out to the parking lot and took off his rear chain.  Put it in a bag and into my locker.  After school we watched him start the bike and into gear and NOTHING!  He looked around, tried all the gears and we stood there laughing at him and him cursing us but he never copped that the chain was missing.

Thoroughly pissed off he went back into the school to call his Dad to come pick him up.  While he was doing that I had the chain between some books I was carrying and I carefully slid it out under the bike to try and make it look like it had simply come off.  When his dad arrived with a his pick up he immediately spotted the chain and proceeded to call his son all the dumb shit names he could think of.  While the son was trying to tell him it wasn't there when he started the bike.  His dad put the chain back on and he rode the bike home.  But it took an awful long time to live it down and it did shut him up.

Nice one Hoof - very subtle.

BTW - what type of suspension / shock absorbers do you use on your World Record Holding Sidecar ?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jan 14, 2012, 14:02:04


BTW - what type of suspension / shock absorbers do you use on your World Record Holding Sidecar ?

Zero, nada, zilch, nothing.  Its rigid all the way round BC.  El Mirage is pretty smooth and Bonneville is usually very smooth so as far as I'm concerned suspension isn't needed.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 16, 2012, 06:44:29
OK that's it then, I think the Electricity Board Tale is worth the telling - and like I said it does involve a bike. That's about 3-4 weeks away.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 01, 2012, 07:32:16
Coming in the next 2 weeks - " The Norton Jubilee and the Electricity Board express delivery service".
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Catbird on Feb 02, 2012, 01:23:59
I just sat down and read this whole silly thing over the last couple hours and not one moment of it was a wasted one. Thank you gentlemen for being you.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: BLSully on Feb 03, 2012, 12:32:56
I joined DTT just to say I loved reading this thread so far. I am a 'young gun'... 28 years old, and have been riding since I got my license at 16 on a 79 KZ750. Right now I ride a Vulcan 1500 because the wife likes to ride with me, but there are plans for a 'cafe style' bike as the next toy. Something small... CB360, KZ400 kinda thing.

Thanks for the great stories guys....it's inspirational for sure, and I will wait patiently for more :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 03, 2012, 13:26:00
Just started writing the next one up - I'm having a quiet chuckle to myself [ OK 2 LARGE Brandies later ] - and just a little emotional as it involved a very good friend who was sadly taken from us far too soon - RIP Gerry.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 08, 2012, 11:21:43
I joined DTT just to say I loved reading this thread so far. I am a 'young gun'... 28 years old, and have been riding since I got my license at 16 on a 79 KZ750. Right now I ride a Vulcan 1500 because the wife likes to ride with me, but there are plans for a 'cafe style' bike as the next toy. Something small... CB360, KZ400 kinda thing.

Thanks for the great stories guys....it's inspirational for sure, and I will wait patiently for more :)

Sully - get that Cafe racer on the go  believe me, that's where the "Tales" begin, you won't regret a minute.

Anyway as promised the latest will be here very soon.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 08, 2012, 11:33:21
Sooner than that even ........................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day.

“The Electricity Board, the Motorcycle Express Delivery and Gerry Lucas [ RIP ]”

This tale follows on from the incident with the Chief Engineer on the first day at work.

A little backgrounder – the Electricity Board was a Public Utility company and encompassed all aspects of electricity supply both domestic and commercial. The role of the Drawing office was two-fold – for mechanical work and construction, and also for the drawing and upkeep of maps detailing where the utilities lay in the ground. The branch I worked at covered rural Essex – and the biking lanes and caffs.!

I was initially employed to work on new sub-station and overhead pylon projects – until one day a senior cartographic draughtsman had a very serious accident at work [ touched a live 16Kv cable ! ] and left that department without cover on one of the busiest regions [ very rural ] of the Board’s territory. As I was the only qualified Draughstman who also had a driving licence – I got the nod.

Basically it was the job of the draughtsman to call on the work gangs and sketch up what was in the open hole – all utilities and of course whatever the electrical work was. Normally this would be concluded by mid-day when the draughtsman would return to the office and update all of the relevant maps for future reference. You also got to drive round in a very handy 5cwt van – in this case a 105E Anglia.

Now then, for somebody whose hobby was motorcycles, this was a heaven sent opportunity! It wasn’t long before I befriended the work parties – previously unheard of as an “us and them” attitude still prevailed. One guy in particular became a good friend – Gerry Lucas, who had just bought himself a 3 year old Norton Jubilee. Gerry was an ace DIY’er – give him a lump of wood and he was in his element – but mechanics and his Jubilee in particular were a no go zone! It wasn’t long before I was sorting out small problems on the Jubilee, and Gerry was busy re-modeling my Maisonette. So my mornings out would inevitably see me calling into the various motorcycle shops to collect spares and collecting / delivering odd bikes I’d been working on.

I always used to catch up with the guys when they finished their morning scheduled worksheets [ afternoons was for emergencies ] when they met up for tea and toast at ……….The Woodlands Caff !

We’d sit there shooting the breeze for an hour or so before I headed back to the Drawing Office to draw up the maps.

Due to my shopping rounds I was late one day and arrived long after the gang had closed up the hole and moved on! I caught up with the lads at the Woodlands as usual, where the foreman of the gang I’d missed produced an excellent sketch of the work he had carried out that morning. It turned out that they all kept immaculate records of their work – as much for their own use as anything else. It then occurred to me that I was totally wasting my mornings when I could simply call into the caff at mid-day and copy all the sketches! A deal was soon struck with the guys in return for a round of tea and toast – I got the sketches. In turn that meant I could use the mornings – and the van for my own purposes.

This went on for months and worked like clockwork – I’d get the sketches and they’d get tea and toast – perfect. Then one day Gerry phoned me and told me that his Jubbly had broken down on his way to work and he’d had to abandon it. That all worked well as his day started at 8.00 and mine at 9.0. After collecting the van and my morning’s work I simply whizzed off to collect Gerry’s bike and took it to my garage so I could work on it. These vans were quite distinctive – Bright Blue with “Eastern Electricity Board” emblazoned on the sides. Being only a 5cwt. Van – the Jubilee hung out the back and I had to tie the doors shut …..ooops.

The Norton’s problem was down to Joe Lucas – Prince of Darkness – the main headlight switch had virtually fallen apart and caused a small fire inside the headlamp! I had promised Gerry that I’d have his bike finished for the evening, so I got stuck in. Time ran on and before I knew, it was mid-day – when I should have been at the Woodlands collecting the maps. Remember this was the 60’s – no such thing as mobile phones !!! I did manage to get a phone call though to the caff owner and fortunately for me, Gerry and his gang had been hanging on for my return and I arranged for them to collect all the relevant maps and I arranged to meet them back in the workshops.

By this time [ 1.30 ] I was way too late to return to the drawing office without an excuse and was wracking my brains to come up with a plausible excuse. I know – a puncture. I called into a hardware shop and bought a packet of 6” nails – they’ll do !

Do you know how hard it is to deliberately puncture a tyre? After the fourth attempt the nail went in and the tyre went down. I was sitting there all smug when I realized that they would expect me to fit the spare and drive back. Damn …………….OK let’s have TWO tyres punctured. After that was done I rang the Drawing office up with the bad news, pre-empting why I hadn’t called them earlier [ 2 o’clock by now ] by saying that the van had gone off the road with the 2 tyres punctured. Oh, and a lorry had shed a load of nails in the road which I couldn’t avoid. When the mechanics came out to rescue me they brought along an envelope from Gerry – with all the mornings maps in.

As a result of that little stunt – all Board vans carried TWO spare wheels !

So, an “incident” was avoided – Gerry got his bike back that evening and I survived to be able to continue my mini - motorcycle business !

Within a year I had moved on from the Electricity Board and it’s hide bound ways – it WAS still in pre-war mode and it would not have been long before I was back in front of the Chief for chinning someone else.

My friendship continued with Gerry and his family for several more years, until one day he was sadly taken from us well before his time [ 32 ] with a massive heart attack. RIP Gerry mate, this one’s for you.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: joeybaggadonuts on Feb 08, 2012, 18:36:44
Wow,  great story beachcomber
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 08, 2012, 19:08:45
When I went to Ireland in the 60s the first thing I noticed was the "them and us" attitude.  Like you say it was hand in some respects.  The one thing I liked about it was "them" rarely knew what "us was doing.  My last job here (SoCal) was a bit like that.  I was doing plant maintenance as a one man band.  Everything from electrical to telephones.  Not that I always knew what I was doing but I'm a great believer in the old saying "If you can't dazzle them with science, baffle them with bullshit".  The previous maintenance guy had left and they didn't bother to replace him.  In the fie years he was gone the place went to hell.

My first project after taking over was lighting.  Approximately 50% of the lights were out.  Not just lamps but the ballasts were dead.  Not a big deal if your boss isn't so tight he squeaks when he walks.  He did a deal with some guy or 400+ "slightly" used ballasts.  He traded a little mig welder for them.   They were fine except that the lamps had to be rewired in order to make them work.  No big deal but the powers that be were suitably impressed and after that they tended to leave me alone.  I had set up in a corner of the warehouse and was almost free to do what I wanted.  I had projects to do but in between I was free.  An awful lot of the sidecar got built in that corner.  I called it unknown sponsorship.

Them and us can have its advantages when used right.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 09, 2012, 05:59:48
Like you say Hoof - work the system !!!

Actually your tale reminded me of my first ever job as a trainee Draughstman - not so much bike orientated [ although I used my AJS 250 to commute ! ] as a Kart story.

Similar vein to your Sidecar build, but at 17 I was an arrogant sob [ what do you mean -nothing changes! ] and was convinced that everything around me was to be taken advantage of.

Not bike orentated, but with indulgence I'll write that one up - if that's OK with you guys ?

let's call it -

"How to work the system - start young"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 09, 2012, 16:09:21
and was convinced that everything around me was to be taken advantage of.
[/i]

Wasn't it?   I like to think of it as the "Rolls Royce" syndrome.   How many racing bits were made in the Rolls Royce workshops unbeknownst to "them"?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Feb 09, 2012, 22:08:12
I have an idea of the "Them and us". Military traditions haven't evolved much... The Officers are very much "them".
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Uncle Billy on Feb 14, 2012, 01:34:44
In 1965 when I was 23, I quit college and enlisted in the US Air Force.  After basic training in Texas, I was assigned to a training base in Biloxi, Mississippi for training as a radio communications technician.  The war in Viet Nam was warming up then, and rumors abounded.  The scuttlebutt was that Air Force radio operators had a limited life expectancy there, crawling about in the jungle with a radio to "spot" for air strikes by approaching close to the enemy.  None of that was more than 0.02% accurate, but who knew?  Thus my attitude was one of "what the hell, I'm going to die in the war anyway".  At first opportunity I bought a motorcycle- a 1965 Triumph Bonneville.  I had been forbidden any contact with motorcycles while at home, so this was in part a statement of my independence.  During the ensuing year that I was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, about as far into the cultural "south" as one can get in the US.  I was one of a group of local "townies", most of whom were illiterate, and at least one other USAF trainee that formed a motorcycle "club".  In truth it really was a gang, with little respect for the law or social conventions, my rationale being to pack as much into what remained of my life as possible.  The answers to why an outlaw motorcycle gang was picked as the venue for that enterprise are to be found elsewhere.  In any case, we had "colors" and rode as a pack, getting into the sort of mischief best described elsewhere as well since some of it was outside what was lawful. During the last few days of my training, when orders were being distributed for our first duty assignments, I was shocked to find that I wasn't going to Viet Nam after all. I had been suspicious that the rumors didn't apply to me, the specific training I had undergone had no application out in the jungle with a backpack radio and M-16 rifle. My training prepared me for duty in permanent radio installations on Air Force bases, and my first assignment was with a radar squadron about 8 miles from home back in New York state!  What a relief!  And leaving Keesler Air Force Base, and Biloxi, and the gang, and Mississippi, and in fact the entire Confederacy all were a source of boundless joy for me.

I packed my uniforms and what other meager gear I had- one large duffel bag and a couple of smaller packs- on my Bonneville and set out northbound for home with the other bike gang Airman on his Triumph, similarly packed and joyful, the trip being about 1250 miles.  It was early March when the nights were often freezing and the days not much warmer, conditions which got worse as we progressed northward. Travel was slow with many stops for hot coffee and the warmth of anyplace indoors, and countless efforts to stay as warm as possible, none really very successful. We rolled newspaper around our legs and lined our jackets for insulation; I tied a cigar box lid to the front brake lever to act as a windbreaker for my throttle hand, but at 80 mph it would push the lever far enough to drag the brake, so that didn't work.  I found some relief by tightening the screw on the throttle housing that would keep the twist grip where I put it instead of rolling back to idle, and laying on the tank, putting both gloved hands on the engine for warmth and trusting the bike to steer itself at 80, which it did- I loved my Triumph!

We planned to stay in motels along the route, and were successful in finding warm beds for three nights after days of freezing our hands and faces  in the wind chill of 40 degrees ambient temperature and 70 or 80 miles per hour of windstream, northbound on US Route 75 and making distance very slowly.

But on the 4th night when we got off the highway and into a little town in Tennessee after dark, there was nothing open, not a soul in sight.  It was a one-stoplight town which "rolled up its sidewalks" at 6 pm, and offered no place for us to take a room.  It looked like we were going to have to camp out for the first time on our trip when a car behind us lit us up with a spotlight and lit up our surroundings with flashing red lights.  It was the town constable, who gruffly demanded our driver's licenses and ordered us to follow him.  We did, to the police station, where he told us to empty our pockets on his desk.  After we did that he took us through a door to a row of jail cells.  He gave us towels and soap and ordered us to take showers while he stood by, a shotgun nearby.  The warm water was wonderful!  Then he locked us in a cell with two bunks and told us we'd be fed shortly.  In a half hour or so he came back with a tray with bowls of stew, fresh baked bread and hot coffee, which we ravaged in short order.  We found out later that the constable had a contract with a lady in town to provide meals for the jail, and she made them as though they were for guests in her home and not for jailbirds. The bunks were warm and comfortable so we slept like the dead. She did as excellent a job with breakfast the next morning, after which we were taken from our warm, comfortable cell and our pocket contents were returned.  The constable told us he wanted us out of town in 15 minutes after he released us, there were to be no motorcycle bums in his town.  In those days the only experience most people had with motorcyclists from out of town- our driver's licenses and license plates were from Mississippi- was with Marlon Brando's movie "The Wild One" wherein a rough, disrespectful gang took over a small California town. We sure looked like those guys did, disheveled and windblown, mostly because our faces were so windburned we couldn't shave.  We told him we couldn't hang around at all, we had to be on duty in a few days.

He said, "Duty?  What duty?"

We said, "We're in the Air Force and on our way to new assignments.  Our leaves expire in a few days so we have to be on the road ASAP", and showed him our ID cards and leave papers.

He said, "Why didn't you tell me you were military?? I wouldn't have hassled you!!"

We said, "Thanks for the room and board!", saluted him in the best military fashion, and hit the road.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 14, 2012, 18:29:11
 Nice one Uncle - must be a load more of you guys with "tales" ??

yep, decided to write up the next one based on my first ever real job after I left school - coming soon.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 14, 2012, 19:58:21
"My first ever real job"  Haha!  I delivered papers from 12 years old to 14 years old.  102 papers a day, seven days a week for $30 a month.  Then I got a "real" job in a grocery store at 39 cents an hour!!!!  But I hadn't left school yet.  I was saving for my first motorcycle.  A C11G BSA.  And I actually wanted it!  God I was innocent then.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 15, 2012, 05:15:53
"My first ever real job"  Haha!  I delivered papers from 12 years old to 14 years old.  102 papers a day, seven days a week for $30 a month.  Then I got a "real" job in a grocery store at 39 cents an hour!!!!  But I hadn't left school yet.  I was saving for my first motorcycle.  A C11G BSA.  And I actually wanted it!  God I was innocent then.


yea with you an that Hoof - paper round at 11. That was in the days when I used to get up at 5.00am ride 20 miles just for the hell of it [ Dawes Clansman pushbike ], straight back to the paper shop, do my round and then home change and catch the school bus at 8.00 for the 45 minute journey to school !

The pay was 1 shilling and sixpence for 6 days and an extra sixpence for Sunday. That was 1955 when the average shop floor wage was £10 / week.

I soon realised that was a mug's game and got a Saturday job at the local hardware store. That paid almost double  [2 shillings and sixpence - or "half a dollar" as it was known ] and I used to double that at least in tips. Petrol at the time was around 1 shilling and sixpence a gallon, so my money didn't go far for my weekend blasts around the woods and trails.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Feb 15, 2012, 15:51:40
"My first ever real job"  Haha!  I delivered papers from 12 years old to 14 years old.  102 papers a day, seven days a week for $30 a month.  Then I got a "real" job in a grocery store at 39 cents an hour!!!!  But I hadn't left school yet.  I was saving for my first motorcycle.  A C11G BSA.  And I actually wanted it!  God I was innocent then.

I think there may still be a C11G (or maybe C10L? possibly both  ;D ) back in Britain at my fathers (he died 7 yrs ago and house still isn't sold)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 15, 2012, 16:18:34
If you're smart you won't go find out.  Dreadful gutless machine (at least mine was).
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Feb 15, 2012, 16:22:51
We were riding them when I was 12 or 13?
C10 is plunger, C11, swinger.
 Used to start on petrol then run on parafin  8)
Motor would 'diesel' and just keep running when we tried to stop it  ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 15, 2012, 17:47:04
I may be wrong but if I remember the C10 and C11 were rigid and C11G was a plunger and the C12 was a swing arm.  I'm very open to correction on that.  It was a long, long time ago and anymore I don't really care.  The memory keeps telling me dreadful.  Run away!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Feb 15, 2012, 23:34:41
C10 is side valve, rigid or plunger
 C11 OHV plunger or SA? (G?)
As far as I can remember, it was basically a C10 with OHV top end 
C12, I think, had the points in 'distributor' behind cylinder instead of on the cam end and only came with BSA 'heavyweight' style forks and swing arm frame? (I guess we could Google it, but this is more fun, as you say, it was a long time ago and doesn't matter anyway  ;D )
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 16, 2012, 02:42:50
A partial solution.  I was working out in the garage tonight but it just got too cold (relative).  So I started fartin' around on the computer looking a BSAs.  You have to be really stuck to do something like that.  C10s came with an OHV engine either rigid or plunger.  C11s came with a plunger and a wonky three speed gearbox.  C11G was a plunger with a "better" four speed box.  Now that that has been solved and my tea has drawn I'm going to watch the news with a cuppa.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 16, 2012, 05:20:55
Hoof / Crazy, you must BOTH have been at a desperate loose end to carry out your research / memory dredging.................... although as you say it's fun sometimes checking your memory banks against reality.

I actually passed up on the offer of a FREE C10 in 1961.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on Feb 16, 2012, 11:46:05
Boredom does weird things to your head  ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 18, 2012, 10:00:16
Currently £195 [ $450 ? ] on E-Bay

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/KGrHqZHJDQE8fdBgM8BPPjzK9Tw60_3.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dawino6260 on Feb 18, 2012, 13:26:01
My best one was when a Georgia State Patrol said {as Southern cops are prone to do} "Boy Where's Your Pilots License"... So I handed it to him.... He laughed so hard I got out of a ticket for 110 in a 65
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 18, 2012, 14:39:33
Thats about 190 quid more than its worth!!  And a fiver is being generous!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Catbird on Feb 18, 2012, 22:51:11
Let's not be too rash, I'd buy that for ten pound.

...but then, it sorta reminds me of... I dunnow... A mildly retarded puppy.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 18, 2012, 23:49:01
A fiver is a more than generous offer.  Remember I rode one of those when it was only six years old not 56 years old.   And even back then it seemed like it was 56 years old.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 19, 2012, 07:57:44
My best one was when a Georgia State Patrol said {as Southern cops are prone to do} "Boy Where's Your Pilots License"... So I handed it to him.... He laughed so hard I got out of a ticket for 110 in a 65

In the UK the cop's favourite [ 1950s - mid 90's 'ish] was "Who do we think we are sir, Stirling Bloody Moss".

Well .............. fast forward to the end of that period and I was responsible for organising "suitable" transport for a number of motoring dignitaries - Moss, Shelby, Richard Noble, Jack Brabham and others at the Innes Ireland Momorial Rally in aid of cancer research.

It seemed like an excellent opportunity to gather in some Brownie points so we arranged a fleet of RAM replicas - Cobras, D Types and XKSS to put all the celebs in.

I was riding shotgun on the celeb convoy [ 3000 cars in all ] with the BBC camera girl. My brief was to zap up and down the column so film footage could be taken. Well, you can imagine with a bunch of racers - as I whizzed past so the film could be taken - they took that as a challenge and soon the whole convoy was moving along at 100mph + in a 70mph limit. I saw the cop car looming up and was frantically flashing the mob to slow down - they did just the opposite. Moss was recovering from a hip replacement and was a passenger with Carroll in "his" Cobra.

For some reason Shelby did slow and I caught up with him just as the cop car pulled in front. I got out so as to explain what was happening and just as I approached the car the copper was into "who do we think we are sir, Stirling Moss" .......and in his slow laconic drawl Shelby said - "No I'm Carroll Shelby THAT's Stirling Moss"........................ autographs all round and after I explained what it was all about, we were let off.

Here they are 30 minutes after their arrival at the Silverstone Circuit with their mate Dickie "Dinger" Bell [ multi-Le Mans winner and group C pilot ]
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars025.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 19, 2012, 09:25:43
And here I am in my "camera car" with camera lady ready for the off from Birmingham's National Exhibition Centre.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars033-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 24, 2012, 10:57:53
BTW - the C11 is now £900 - with 3 days to go !!! anyone want to predict the final price ?

Anyway here's the last one for a while ......

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – Feb 2012.
“ How to play the system – start young”
Hoof’s tale about building your own stuff courtesy of your workplace sparked this from the dim memory banks.

I spent my early education at one of England’s top Grammar Schools – King Edward the 6th. Lichfield. I went there courtesy of passing a set of 11+ [ age ] exams which allowed me to be educated without having to pay fees. The school was very old and very traditional and I made very hard work of it all by being a total rebel all my way through! Without digressing too much – like the time we put the Science Master’s Messerschmitt Bubble car on top of the bike shed !

My only saving grace was my success at anything to do with sports. Rugby, Athletic field events, swimming – I was yer maun. If it wasn’t for the fact that I was involved in all the school and County teams, I think my stay at King Edward’s might have been quite short!

Normally this phase of education in the UK at that time was a 5-7 year stint, after which we WERE expected to go to Oxford or Cambridge to take degrees. After 4 years I realized that an academic education path was not for me, and fortunately my then current girl friend’s Father saw that my natural talents lay in an engineering direction. He was the guy that encouraged me to build my first Velo Sprinter. He was the MD for a major Spray plant company and was able to get many parts made for me [ and sprayed ! ] at his works. In fact it went deeper than that as during the school holidays whilst his Daughter got work experience in the office, I got to work in the Drawing Office. So after gathering the various expected exam results [ GCE’s ] at Oxford’s matriculation board – I opted for a change in direction into engineering.

Won’t bore you with all that, but I ended up with my first job at 17 and with a sandwich course [ 4 days work 1 day college ] which set me on my way to the Associate Member of the Institute of Mechanical Engineers [ A.M.I.Mech.E. ].

I was taken on as a trainee engineering design Draughtsman, but like all these institutions at this time was the archetypal “them and us” – with a vengeance. The company was involved in the manufacture of non-ferrous extruded forms and had several machine shops and fabrication shops dotted throughout the huge complex – over 5,000 employees. You were simply a # ……….no space for an individual !

After 4 months learning the basics [ and making a lot of tea ], I was given the job of checking all the various consumption meters [ gas, electric, oil, water ] and making daily notes of the readings – and yes, I had NO fargin idea what that had to do with being an engineering draughtsman ! I got some training in the afternoons after my rounds, but all very basic and I was learning more at the Technical College. It involved a lot of climbing up into virtually inaccessible – AND high places !!! Anything much over 12 ft. and I get decidedly queasy and some of these overhead crane gantries were 100 ft up with small catwalk access – nah, not for me.

The company also had one of the first computer systems – took up the whole of a 500 sq. ft. room and probably had the total power of the average lap top of today. I got very friendly with one of the computer programmers – don’t think they were actually called that back then. Anyway she just loved motorbikes, even though I only had a 250 AJS [ sport no less ! ] it was only a few years old and she loved it [ and the bike ].

One day while we were ………er chatting in the depths of the computer room, she told me that the meter readings I took were fed into the computers together with the outputs from the various extrusion presses – and thus the computer could compute accurate costings for the finished extrusions.

Now there’s an old saying in big production companies – if you want to find the most economical way to do a job – put the laziest most devious worker on it – he’ll find the simplest way !

Nothing if not resourceful, it didn’t take me long to realize that - if we had the total input for the 24 hour period [ ie the main incoming meters ] and the end total product output, you didn’t actually need a computer to work out the costs! Of course they were interested in where savings on individual plant could be made – I was interested in an easy life.

I soon had it sussed with Jenny [ what a memory ] that with her production figures and my overall consumption figures we [ she ] could programme the computer to give all the intermediate meter readings based on previous predictions, and the results would be perfect - resulting in brownie points for me.

After 4 weeks of using this method and feeding the results on, it was working like a charm. There was a base datum figure the engineers had worked out for every single piece of consumptive equipment in the place. This must have been a mammoth task as there were literally 1000’s of individual items – furnaces, presses, mufflers, cranes, ……………..

By this time I’d also befriended the machine shop and fabrication guys and was busy sending them drawings to make odd bits for my AJS and also my Velo Sprinter. They were quite happy to make the parts as they were perfectly aware of what I was doing, and to them it was fingers up to the management ! On one of my forays round the works [ I now had PLENTY of time thanks to Jenny and her computer skills ] I found a large wooden building, inside the main building but just outside one of the die stores where very few people went. After enquiring what it was used for I found it was now redundant, having originally been the works office. Checking inside I found tables, chairs a small camping cooker and all the paraphernalia to keep the foreman and his cronies happy. After I had requisitioned a large padlock and keys – the place was mine ! Initially it was just a bolt hole and somewhere private to meet up with Jenny, but then I became interested in Karts – or Go-Karts as they were known in the UK. I’d seen them in one of my US Hot Rod magazines and decided I’d like to build one.

As I was expected to leave the Drawing Office on my rounds at 9.30 – and I wasn’t expected back until after lunch, that gave me plenty of time to get on with my own activities and nobody even queried where I was or what I was doing – as long as each month the figures rolled out.

So drawings were done and materials gathered. Drawings went out on a regular basis to the works and nobody ever queried what they were for as they all had official Drawing Office stamps. I had NO idea what the specs were for a Kart – so mine had suspension front and rear – and a 500cc Triumph engine !! The Kart was eventually completed, but there was no way of getting it into a van or trailer and past the security on the main gate. So a plot was hatched, I offered to work overtime and when it was dark I drove the Kart out of the workshop and was able to drive below the gate barrier! The security guards were shell shocked and basically shat themselves when the Kart came hurtling out of the darkness and under their barrier. The engine just had short open pipes with no silencing and made a hell of a racket. Regrettably I hadn’t given much thought to what should happen once I got outside in the road and ended up driving it home - some 3 miles away. Needless to say it wasn’t long before the specs for the Karts became available in the UK – and mine was totally illegal ! I sold it on to a guy for Hill Climbing.

The idyllic life had to come to an end sometime and after Jenny had been called in to her boss to explain some anomalies [ or lack of ] with the production readings – we had made the mistake of making them TOO perfect. She played dumb and just produced “my” figures which she input to the system. I decided it was time to move on before the enquiries came to rest at my door and in any case I hadn’t seen much of the actual drawing office since I’d been there. I actually left with glowing references as to my efficiency [ written before they found out the real truth ] and secured a job in a proper engineering company working on  large aluminium structures – even MORE scope for my mini Café Racer business. I calculate there must have been at least 100 sets of dural engine plates I had made during my stay there.

I often wonder if they ever got to the bottom of why the readings were so faultless during that time – or if the security guards ever got over their trauma …………..and what became of Jenny ?   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Feb 24, 2012, 20:01:23
Kind of reminds me of doing this:

(http://www.thefroginator.co.uk/fm-pix/albums/userpics/Bike%20Pic%20jpg.JPG)

When I was supposed to be doing this:

(http://www.thefroginator.co.uk/fm-pix/albums/userpics/Constraint.JPG)


I later quit that job to join the RCAF doing what I'm doing now on the floor instead of sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day clinking a freaking mouse.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Feb 24, 2012, 21:04:34
900 quid???!!!!  Have the people of GB lost their minds??  Dear God almighty!!

I had a good giggle at your kart story.  In the early 80s a friend's sister bought a house and the result was a bunch of kart bits arrived on my doorstep.  With nothing better to do I stuck an XS 650 Yamaha engine in it.  El Mirage dry lake was the only place you could let fly with it.  The final drive ratio was 1:1.  Fun as hell until I looped it at around the ton and it beat the crap out of me.  When I moved the house needed to be tented (termites) and I traded it for the tenting.  Should have kept it.

(http://img392.imageshack.us/img392/9489/img225ap1.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2008-09-09
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 01, 2012, 09:57:24
Hoof this was my karting moment of madness.
I guess you can see where it originated from ! It was the body that was used for the pyrotechnic / destructive shots - alledgedly m'lud. Body was just over 12' long.

Later plans called for a hydrogen peroxide rocket to work through the original outlet - but then the men in white coats arrived just in time.........
 
(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/KGrHqFHJCEE9EDFg9wmBPSsT2JU4Q60_12.jpg)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img105.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 01, 2012, 17:22:09
That's pretty neat BC.  With the new body on, the sidecar is a few inches over 12' long.  Ya reckon that body would fit?   That would be a shocker for the scrutineers at Bonneville!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 07, 2012, 10:56:22
Wouldn't it just ...........you can imagine the fun you could have with your pit crew dressed the part as well ! You'd have to get a fireproof cape though ;)

Here's the naked chassis part built......

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/KGrHqJHJFIE88e5RhrBPSsQOfgVw60_12.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 07, 2012, 19:56:08
Is that a triple for power?  Must have been fun!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 08, 2012, 05:21:31
Packaging the whole thing was a bit of a headache ...... The plan was originally for a Busa, but that would have meant using a driver less than 3 ft tall !

Straight line was a blast, corners ................ interesting. Wheelies at the drop of a hat [ cape ? ]
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 18, 2012, 08:47:53
April Tale under way - just a gentle story ............"Father's EasyTwo [ Norton ES2 ], the tight leathers and the ride from hell"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 21, 2012, 06:21:05
Here it is then, a little early as I hope to be in Sunny Saxony first 2 weeks of April.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – March 2012
“Father’s Easy Two [ Norton ES2 ], the Tight Leathers, and the Ride from Hell”.

This Tale [ 1964 ? ] involves my late Father’s ES2 Norton – basically a cooking version of Norton’s single range, albeit in a Featherbed frame. This model the Fire-Breathing  ::) 500cc version as opposed to the more mundane 350cc . Primarily these 2 were the commuters in the range offering simple maintenance over the complication of the twin Dominators [ ? ], and reasonable performance  ??? with good economy. They were also exceedingly cheap back in the early - mid sixties, and I’d bought this one for £20 to use as a base for a Triton that a pal had asked me to build for him. To put the £20 into perspective, I'd just laid out £5.00 for a genuine Manx 5 gallon Alloy tank.

I used it for a while as my own Tribsa was off the road having new Borrani’s fitted up. When my Father saw the Norton, he wanted it for his daily commute to the Ford experimental base where he was working. He offered me what I’d paid for it + his ratty T100. Oh well, lose the rolling chassis for the Triton, but gain and engine and gearbox ! Anyway deal done on the basis I could carry on using the Easy Two until my Tribsa was back up and running.

That didn’t work out too well, as Father’s car blew a head gasket and he needed the Norton straight away. The Tribsa wheels were causing a bit of a headache, as I was having the front rim built on to a newly acquired Goldie front hub. I got a call to say the brake drum was out of true and needed skimming, which meant getting oversize brake shoes, which delayed the build.

So ……….temporarily bikeless I was using my trusty JU250 race transporter van to get around, and of course missing the weekly burn-ups and visits to the Caffs. I made the mistake of deciding to go up to the Woodlands one eveningcto see who was around, as I was getting severe withdrawal symptoms ! Worked out quite well actually as 2 guys had broken down [ head gasket and fried clutch ] and I ended up doing the AA [ that’s Automobile Association – NOT Alcoholics Anonymous BTW ! ] run to get the bikes back to their respective homes and earning myself a few quid into the bargain. All the usual crew were there and it transpired they were organizing a run to Brands Hatch at the weekend where, amongst others there was a National sidecar race. The reason we were all keen to go was that there was an International sidecar race at Mallory the following weekend and all the Continental Circus was in town for a warm up race – Duebel, Camathias, Scheidegger, etc.,etc. – HAD to go.

Ah problem, no bike…………and by that time I refused to go pillion to any of my nutty mates [ those that HAD dual seats ] and there was no way I was going in the van.

A call to Father proved a winner, he wasn’t using the Easy Two at the weekend AND needed to borrow my van to move some garden rubbish – deal done.

I collected the Norton on the Friday night and on the ride back thought - I can’t be seen on this by my mates ……….Two hours later the Manx 5 gallon tank, seat and rearsets I’d bought for the Triton were on together with a Goldie silencer !

I stopped short of fitting the clip-ons – only because I hadn’t yet bought a spare set of headlamp brackets, and didn’t fancy cannibalising my Tribsa for one day’s riding. A pal had some “Vincent straights” – basically as described, so I borrowed those and 20 minutes later the bars were swapped over. For a 3 hour makeover, it didn’t look too bad ! That said, I didn’t have time or the inclination to attempt to do anything to improve the “performance” - 80mph flat out and zero to sixty – eventually. 8)

Definitely all show and no go, but at least it would look the part in the car park. To add to the visual [ ie showing off ] I decided to wear the brand new Rivetts racing leathers I’d just bought myself. Early – mid sixties was still the domain of traditional Black leathers, but Rivetts had come up with a “stunning range” of coloured leathers – Red or Blue ! And they were actually cheaper because nobody wanted to be the first to go away from Black and they weren’t selling well. I made the mistake of breathing in when my measurements were taken, and in an attempt to get away from the “just shit myself” baggy arse look, made all the relevant measurements – er……… a little tight. When they arrived [ mail order ], the ONLY way I could get them on was by wearing nothing underneath but a pair of pants [ shorts ? ]  OK for sprint racing [ which is what I was then doing ], but you’d definitely end up singing falsetto if you attempted a 10 lap circuit race ! :'(

So that’s how I set out to meet the lads on Sunday morning for the run to Brands. Actually, that was our “local” and thanks to the Rotherhithe Tunnel under the Thames that brought the circuit within a 30 minute ride, rather than having to go further up the Thames for the next crossing some 90 minutes away through East End London traffic.

I’d also neglected to think about money, or more precisely where to put it ! Eventually I put it in the side panel with the tool roll.

The week prior had been quite warm and dry and I was looking forward to the ride – and having the piss taken out of me by my riding mates –3 x  Bonnies, 2 x Goldies, a Triton, CSR Matchless and 2 x Super Rockets.

After the inevitable piss taking we decided to set off. “Yea we’ll all have a slow ride down so we don’t lose you TJ “ ….That lasted all of 10 minutes before I got the V’s and they all cleared off into the distance. When I finally arrived some 10 minutes after they’d all had their first fag and cuppa, I again had the piss royally taken.

We settled down in the Grandstands to watch the racing, all eyes on the “racer bloke” in the leathers. That was some consolation for the ribbing I’d taken from my mates. However, my smugness soon faded when the sun went in and the temperature dropped to the point where I was shivering uncontrollably with the cold. Then joy of joys, just as the last race ended the heavens opened up into a monumental hailstorm. By this time I was so cold and miserable – I just wanted to get home.

Actually we’d all arranged to go back to a pal’s house as he’d got some Isle of Man TT cine film footage to show us from his recent visit. The roads were virtually awash, and the route back to our village was all narrow lanes for the first 16 miles or so. We all set off – all the lads naturally had their waterproofs to throw over their leather jackets and jeans – I had bugger all !

This time I didn’t hang around or actually care if I fell off or not – I just wanted to get back in the warm and dry. Now one thing where the Easy Two DID score was the handling – the legendary Featherbed chassis and I’d fitted Avon GP tyres. It’s often said in racing that rain is a great leveler of performance differences, and I took full advantage of that. It was probably one of my personal outstanding rides in the wet [ which I hated ] and this time the tables were reversed and I arrived back at my pal’s some 15 minutes before the crew. In fact his Mother was so worried by my early arrival [ she knew the story about my humble bike AND the piss taking ] she was convinced there’d been a crash !  :o

My mates were equally convinced that as they hadn’t passed me, I was holed up in a caff -  probably Johnson’s half way down “Death Hill” outside the circuit.

When they eventually arrived and saw the Norton parked outside they were convinced I’d found some short cut to arrive back before them. In fact I’d had a nice warm shower and was sitting with my pal’s dressing gown on when they came in. For some months after that the story of “TJ on the Easy Two in the Rain” was the talk of the lay-bye ! :)

The Norton ? That was restored to it’s BOF specs and returned to Father who had NO idea what his bike had been through ! Some 9 months later I swapped it back again for an Enfield Meteor Minor [ 500cc ] that had a “bathtub” rear enclosure similar to some of the Triumphs of the era. The Meteor had come as a freebie when I bought the ex. Bob Mac Connie.

A week later a 500 Dommie came into my possession, and that was sooooo sweet that I smoked it around for a couple of months before tearing it apart for the Triton conversion.

The racing? Camathias came out the victor with Duebel in second – Pip Harris and Chris Vincent were the best of the Brit Charioteers. In the solo races there was some guy called Minter virtually lapping everyone by the end of the race – aptly named “The King of Brands” . ;)

Father's ES2 was Dark Green.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/norton-es2-1954.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 21, 2012, 13:46:14
Great story TJ.  There are so many things I can relate to in that story.  Particularly the shivering, cold and wet!!  BTW It was "dark green".    Nortons called it "Forest Green". 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 22, 2012, 07:39:11
Forest Green - that's the one Hoof.

The bike shown is the "De-Luxe" version with the additional chrome on the tank, from memory Father's was all painted, even the mudguards.

Just to finish off, when I got the ES2 back eventually, it was spare as I'd already got the Dommie for the Triton conversion for my pal. Due to the time lines, I'd already ripped the motor out of the Dommie before the Easy Two came back, but that motor was so nice, I swapped it into the Easy Two and built it up as a replica Dommie Racer  ::)- albeit with the larger frame. That bike was as nice as any of the Tritons in our area - and faster than most.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 02, 2012, 13:19:02
Off in 2 weeks for our first break this year to Saxony .......got a couple of tales swilling around in my memory banks for my return at the end of the month.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 02, 2012, 08:37:03
So, chill break to Saxony over and back to dear old Blighty - rain, cold, etc. !

A bit different to the 20 degree [c ] and clear blue skies we had in Reichenau.

Anyway, here's another gentle tale ................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day.
“Disastrous Day out at Duxford
– never use Aerolastic straps to hold your fuel tank on” May 2012


In the early –mid Sixties the NSA [ National Sprint Association ] secured the use of several redundant WW2 air bases to hold sprint meetings. For those unaware – sprinting was / is generally over a ¼ mile [ sound familiar ?] and in those days used reasonably sophisticated timing apparatus and was you against the clock. However, in order to introduce more spectator interest bikes [ and cars / 3 wheelers ] would “race” in pairs – although the outcome was still based on timing, unlike later Drag Racing. We would also run in the rain, although when times got down in the 10 second ranges – common sense prevailed!

Primarily I was a design engineer and although I’d built 50 + Café Racers by that time – the engineering / tuning side was of real interest. My Sprinting career had begun much earlier [ and illegally ] after a girlfriend’s Father spotted my talents lay in an engineering direction, rather than the academic path my education had taken me. He actively encouraged me into all aspects of engineering, including forays into his business’ drawing office during my school Summer holidays. The company was “Aerospray” [ still in business ] and manufactured all manner of spraying equipment. I was also lucky enough to also spend time in their painting lab. during the same holidays and was taught the rudiments of spraying. Strange though, although he encouraged me [ even bought a Velo for me ! ] he would not allow me to take his Daughter on my road bike. Anyway the result was the Velo was turned into a reasonable Sprinter, I think he enjoyed the process as much as I did as he had no son of his own to “bond” with. Many parts were made up in the Aerospray workshops, the only stipulation, I had to draw them up to the satisfaction of the chief Draughtsman. I also sprayed the bike components under the supervision of their factory foreman – invaluable experience. I spent some time in the machine shop polishing all the internals within an inch of their life !!! Regrettably I didn’t pick up any of the other skills – lathework, welding, etc., only so much time and at 16 years old, I had also to look after my girlfriend’s needs !!

That sowed the seeds for my future forays into Sprinting, and later - Drag Racing.

Anyway, back to Duxford. My own Sprinter was in the process of being built – 350cc triumph Tiger 90 motor with reversed head – so we all decided to take a ride to Duxford to spectate at the weekend’s meeting. We were all anxious NOT to miss a meeting, as our hero George Brown [ Vincent Nero ] was tapping at the doors of the 9 second bracket – yes I know that sounds slow now …………… There was also some young upstart called Alf Hagon, who had brought his talents over from his successful Grass Track racing and used some of the grass track principles to build his 1000cc JAP sprinter. He was also running very low 10’s and it was a case of which one would break into the 9’s first.

We all met up at the Owl early morning so we’d arrive in plenty of time to catch all the action. Nine of us in total, including Dave on his recently built Goldie. Now Dave was almost another Roy, not so accident prone – but not a good rider and would often end up falling off for no apparent reason. Because of this he was also a nervous rider and would generally end up as “Tail End Charlie” on runs.

No different on this particular day, I was riding a Triton that I’d just built for a guy and was running it in / snagging it before delivery. I’d ordered a stainless tank hold down strap [ a la Manx ] from a friend, but unfortunately it didn’t arrive in time, so the ubiquitous Aerolastic luggage strap [ 2 actually ] was pressed into service to hold the tank on.

The route to Duxford took us on from the Owl across rural Essex with some beautiful lanes to ride. Dave was soon left well behind, but he knew the way so we weren’t too bothered. About a mile or so from Duxford there was a railway crossing with level crossing gates, and needless to say we arrived at just the wrong time as a train was due to pass. We all pulled up to wait for the gates to open, when Dave – unaware of the hold up around the corner came hurtling into the mass of bikes! There were bikes everywhere and we really feared that some would be really damaged – however, my Triton was hit first and the violent forward jolt was enough to dislodge the tank and send it over the other guys and onto the railway banking – which was fortunately grass. Dave was given a round of fucks for his incompetence, but when we sorted the mayhem out there was only superficial damage – the worst being my pal Mick’s newly built Ton Ten which had the rear lamp and mudguard destroyed. Dave’s Goldie suffered a front wheel puncture, but other than a few minor scratches here and there everyone and more important – the bikes were OK.

After running repairs to get Mick roadworthy and Dave’s puncture repaired, we replaced my tank with the Aerolastics and we were ready to set off again.
We arrived at the meeting with no further dramas, other than Mick complaining of severe pains in his side.

The second disaster occurred on the strip – “Stormin” Norman [ Dennis ] had built a supercharged Ariel Square 4 sprinter, which sounded the absolute biz and everyone was certain he’d give George and Alf a run for their money. He got settled on the start line and proceeded to wind the revs up and the sound was absolutely deafening – then – boom, the engine grenaded in awesome fashion sending bits of innards in all directions, scattering those next to the start line in rapid fashion. One part [ piston ?] ended up in the adjacent car park , smashing the windscreen on a car !

Alf Hagon then proceeded produced his new secret weapon to chase the 9’s. These were the days before slipper clutches and we only had 4” wide Avon Slicks, so smoking ¼ mile runs were the order of the day, using the tyre as a clutch. In order to break traction earlier and get the wheel spinning [ Alf used a 2 speed box ], the crew had built a device that acted as a crude paddock stand and the rear wheel was raised and the engine revved to god knows what in first gear and the stand quickly dropped. Needless to say this was banned after a couple of starts.

Memory fades now and I can’t remember whether this was the meeting that Hagon broke into the 9’s – but he DID beat George to it.

The third disaster – they always go in 3’s so my Granny said – on the way back Mick had to stop as the pain in his side was getting worse, and we persuaded him to go straight to the local hospital, where a cracked rib was diagnosed ! After he had been strapped up, they were going to arrange for an ambulance to take him home – “No need the bike’s outside” brought incredulous looks from the nurses. They insisted that he take an ambulance – so we smuggled his riding gear outside and he simply slipped out while nobody was watching – and rode home ! I DID kickstart his bike for him though…………………………….

The Triton ? Quick respray on the tank and you’d never know !

Yes it WAS that meeting 9.595 .....

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/ah3.jpg)

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on May 02, 2012, 09:29:43
Why haven't you been on Top Gear yet? It seems almost every historic racing thing to happen on the Island, you were a part of. The work you did 50 years ago echoes today with motor sports...

Makes me look around and go WTF am I doing.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 02, 2012, 11:27:20
Rat,

it's just a fortunate state of affairs - people of my era [ like Hoof ] missed out on the horrors of WW2, we missed military conscription by a whisker and bikes and parts were giveaway cheap [ and fuel ! ].

The rest is - take your chances when they arise.

If I were to impart just ONE bit of advice, it would be "go for it", worry about the consequences later.

Believe me if you adhere to that philosophy you WILL have your own Tales to pass down for the next generation - hell, we're counting on you young whippersnappers !!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 02, 2012, 15:27:21
BC is right.  "A fortunate state of affairs".   I wound up in Ireland at that time because I was drafted here in the U.S.  But I was 4F'ed (unsuitable for military service) because I had a form of polio as a child and it was classified as a recurable disease.  At tha time being 4F was as bad as being 1A (suitable gun fodder).  Viet Na was all the rage but I had no interest in going.  Still don't give a rats about the place.  But the problem was nobody would hire you because as 4F there must be something wrong with you.  Pumping gas for a buck an hour wasn't my idea of fun (or a career).   I side with Ben Franklin's quote.  "there's no such thing as a good war or a bad peace".

My Dad who grew up in Ireland, filled my head with stories of racing on real roads.  So I decided to give it a shot.  Supposed to be for a year or two but turned into 15.  It was a whole different world then.  Like the drag racing BC mentioned.  People had their own ideas as to what was a good engine or they tried different things.  And more importantly were allowed to try different things.  If you look at virtually every racing organization today the rules are such that variation or innovation are strictly forbidden.  Moto 2 and 3 are a perfect example.  I watched Moto 3 yesterday and all the riders are skinny little kids.  I figure in a year or two you'll see emaciated 10 year olds on the machines.  As everything is equal the only way to save weight is get skinnier kids

I have seen a photo or two of 'Stormin' Norman's blown Ariel.  And read of its explosion.  And followed the exploits of Hagon, Brown, Higgins etc. as well as the racers here.

Parts were cheap and cheerful.  I laugh when I think back about buying a slimline featherbed for 25 pounds on condition that I take a 500T Norton engine as well.  Or the photo of Jeff Smith setting off to defend his world motocross championship.  His defense consisted of a car with the works bike on an open trailer, one mechanic and the spare parts thrown in the back seat.  Definitely different and happier times.

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 13, 2012, 17:35:17
After the recent sad news about Shelby, I have decided that a tale devoted to him will be my personal tribute, including some exclusive photos.

It will concentrate [ maybe there will be some others ] on the events during the 1994 Le Mans 24 Hour Race - the week before and the event itself.

I'll make it late in the year as it will be quite a tale, probably 3-4 times the length of my usual Tales. Also, I want to leave a reasonable time for personal grieving.

There'll be a couple of Bike related Tales in the meantime -
 
"Start out on the Connie - come back on the train" and
"What happens when you collect two Moto Parillas in a Renault R8"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on May 13, 2012, 17:55:40
Have not heard of Moto Parillas before ..... googled it and wow ......... they're a bit special aren't they!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 13, 2012, 18:22:43
For shame Erskine!   High cam Parillas were the stuff 13 year old's dreams were made of.  K&N (before they went into filters) had one in their shop and I would ride my bicycle there on a Sat. and lust at it.  Then one day it was gone.  I only saw a couple of others here in SoCal. 

P.S.  BC.  A long time friend in Ireland sent me some photos of various friends on vintage runs etc.  This was in the bunch.    Turvey Ave. around 1971.  Should have kept it this way.
(http://img580.imageshack.us/img580/2682/roadmanxturvey1975.jpg)
By weslake (http://profile.imageshack.us/user/weslake) at 2012-04-27
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 14, 2012, 06:38:00
Our local bike breaker Guru was a guy called Ted Bloomfield, a real character and he became a good mate over the years. He had an old Victorian house which he used as his base, and every floor, nook and cranny was filled with bike bits - and I mean 1000's of parts. The amazing thing was that he knew exactly where to find a part when asked !
Complete and almost complete bikes were kept in what was the living room and yard - you couldn't make this place up.

This is the guy that I bought several Connies from - including the ex-Bob Mac Thruxton. In fact he always used to call me first when he had a new one in, as I was almost inevitably a buyer. He also said, that I was the only one mad enough to have them!

So what's that got to do with Parillas?

It wasn't until many years later - when a magazine did an article on him that I found out he was the original Moto Parilla importer for the UK ! This was when he had swish modern premises in East London - another fact I never knew. At the time of the upcoming Tale I had just swapped an old featherbed rolling chassis for a complete running Parilla ! I was going through a bit of an Italian phase at the time having the 200 Duke and a Garreli [ 180cc ?? ]. In honesty they were far too small physically for my size - no 30lbs of excess flab in those days, but I was still a big lad ! What appealed about the Parillas was the Swiss watch like quality of the parts - everything was "crafted" - not just simply pulled out of a universal parts bin. I remember the control levers were exquisitely made - alloy of course.

At the time I didn't relate the dealer's decal on the rear mudguard "Bloomfields of London" to Ted !

Handled [ and stopped ! ] a dream and was pretty quick too, even with my bulk it would outrun most mundane Brit bikes up to 500cc.

When Ted found out I'd got the bike, he put me in touch with the owner of the two in the Tale. He also gave me a load of original dealer / importer literature and manuals.

That pic is pure nostalgia Hoof !!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on May 14, 2012, 11:20:42
Beachcomber - glad you're keeping these coming, we all surely appreciate the stories!

Wanted to tell you that I kept up my end of the bargain - I said if you kept bringing tales, I'd send money:

(http://i.imgur.com/L95Hrl.jpg)

If anyone isn't aware, Beachcomber is an internet salesman these days through DWMS racing (http://www.dwmsracing.com/emporium/index.php?index&sid=0cc8cf94c53bf00e3a3c2aac2461fe57).

Looking forward to future installments.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 21, 2012, 05:40:24
As we're in Moto Parilla mode at the moment I thought I'd dedicate the upcoming tale to my involvement with the marque -"What happens when you collect two Moto Parillas in a Renault R8".

A few points of explanation would be in order - for those not familiar - the Renault R8 was a small family saloon, rear engined and with a small boot [ trunk ] at the front.

The car was waaaay ahead of the English offerings [ 1963>] as it had independant suspension all round, 4 wheel disc brakes and radial tyres all as standard. I raced the Gordini version [1300cc ]  of this model and built several specials fitted with the R16TS crossflow engine [ 1600cc ].
Tale coming up in the next few weeks ...........

Here's the car in question - Gordini version. This was after we'd blagged our way onto the closed race circuit at Le Mans for a few laps around the Bugatti circuit. That's the circuit the GP boys used at the weekend - when Rossi wiped Stoner's nose ......

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img015-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 21, 2012, 11:56:23
"Rossi wiped Stoner's nose"?   Is that politically correct seeing that Stoner just announced his retirement?  Aren't you supposed to be heaping praise on him?   But wasn't it a beaut if a nose wiping??   I thought Marco's death had taken the edge off of Rossi (and if it had I wouldn't blame him).   To see the old Rossi back again was a delight to the eyes and the soul.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 22, 2012, 04:45:54
BC would forgive CS all his sins if he was from Britain with a little black storm cloud following him all around hovering over his head...Gardner,Doohan,Stoner,etc Young,McConnell,Johnson,etc....Sing along kids:"some of these things belong together.....Whats the answer children?"...Thats right!: The mere spawn of convicts.Like the rebels of King George they just don't know their place.....The old Rossi,is like gone forever.....

Swivel, you need to see a shrink to get that chip off your shoulder. ;) ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 23, 2012, 06:53:10
I'd forgotten just how small they were !

This one was shortlisted for Classic Bike magazine's Reader's rebuild of the year [ one of 10 ].

Not entirely orginal - but close.

There was a real "wow" story attached to this one. The guy bought the engine with a view to "doing something in the future". long story short - a few years later he decided to do just that and responded to an ad. for a rolling chassis somewhere up North. When he got there he was amazed to find it was the chassis belonging to his engine which had been removed FORTY years before !.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img138.jpg)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img137.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 23, 2012, 09:18:21
Swivel, if only you put as much effort into telling others about your motorcycling and related experiences. ::) You do have some don't you ?

You're not a ghost writer for those girlie fiction books by any chance?  ;)

The thread here is Tales of the Day - if you don't wish to take part or have no intelligent input, why bother to read them ???  ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on May 23, 2012, 09:39:47
You would think that engine/ chassis story uncommon but more than once, I've read about it happening predominately with old race cars. I can just imagine the look on the guys face when he read that the vin on the engine matched the one on the frame!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 23, 2012, 10:57:25
You would think that engine/ chassis story uncommon but more than once, I've read about it happening predominately with old race cars. I can just imagine the look on the guys face when he read that the vin on the engine matched the one on the frame!

I just re-read the magazine article and it's even more bizarre than just coincidence - like most tales ! Apparantly the guy bought the engine because "It looked nice" - he didn't even know what a Moto Parilla was at the time.

I must say that the bikes were exquisitely made, even down to mundane things like controls. Inside the engine was equally Swiss watch like - a real pleasure to work on.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 24, 2012, 05:08:02
Sad end on Ted Bloomfield. Did a Google search yesterday to see if I could find out more info on his Parilla sales connections, only to find that he'd died some years ago - another chapter from my youth closed. RIP Ted mate
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rumbaldi on May 24, 2012, 13:14:55
I read this thread over the last two days. I wanted to thank everyone who shared their stories of the good old days. They remind me of the stories my godfather Jeff used to tell me of the past. He was a first order story teller who lead an accomplished life. Living through the depression and WWII taught him to work hard for what he wanted and to play hard when he could. I sorely miss him. Thanks for sharing your memories and helping me to relive some of my own.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Frog on May 25, 2012, 03:29:48
The Germans have a word for events that go beyond coincidence, although I can't pronounce it, never mind spell it, a mate of mine bought a GT250 last year to restore, it's the same one he bought new in 1977. If he had bought the bike in our home town it would have been just coincidence, but he bought it off ebay and it was located in Wales, it's had 16 owners since he sold it in 79. Really enjoying the tales by the way.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 26, 2012, 06:56:02
Rumbaldi / Frog - thanx for the encouragement [ don't need much prompting ! ]. ;)

I'm sure regular contributors [ like Hoof ] will tell you it is enjoyable relating these tales - as, in relating them - you relive them ! 8)

It WAS [ the 60's ] a Golden era for biking and bikers, and there's so much BS and urban myth spouted by "those that were there" [ yea right ], that when there is a good source of info., it's worthy of noting.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Frog on May 26, 2012, 13:35:25
It's always better to get the stories from the horses mouth, as professional historians often miss out the small and personal tales. The one annoying thing with historical documentation of cultural events, is that often they are written by someone who wasn't there and their outlook is one of an outsider, which is always flawed. I was a punk rocker 76-77 and when I watch programmes about the era they usually get it wrong, everyone in zips and chains etc, which came later when everyone jumped on the bandwagon. If they can't get it right about something as recent as thirty years ago, how are they going to make accurate observations about something even older, keep the tales coming.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 27, 2012, 06:08:55
Spot on Frog - easy to tell the real tales from the wannabes.  ;)

One of my all time pet hates is the myth about "record racing". Actually never "Record Racing" but "Juke Box Racing", doesn't really matter as it was bollox anyway.

The average early Sixties pop record was less than 2 minutes. 8)

OK - dash from the juke box through the door, swing a leg over the bike - ASSUME it starts first kick filter out onto the main road and then ride a mile or so - including a roundabout and back before the record ends .................never in a million years.

YES there WERE races from the Caff out to a predetermined point and back to the Caff - first one back the winner - but under 2 minutes .......nah. ::) ::) ::)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Frog on May 27, 2012, 12:07:33
I remember Pete Townsend recalling a tale about his younger years as a mod, there were about twenty of them walking along the seafront when they spotted five or six rockers, they started shouting abuse at them, the rockers charged at them, and not wanting to tangle with such nutters the mod's did a runner, what I found interesting was that he said some of the rockers were in their early-mid twenties and the ones he encountered from London's east end were serious hard cases, whist most of the mods were teenagers.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 05, 2012, 06:53:11
I was never in the Rocker, Mod or anything else mob and as such it was quite amusing to watch the antics of others around me. No doubt people have read the stories about Dangerous Roy - a mod through an through AND one of my best pals.

In the main, this cult warfare was whipped up by the media - searching for lary headlines [ just like "Juke Box Racing" !  ::) ].

One BIG mistake a lot of the herd [ Rockers ] made was to assume that all mods were a limp wristed bunch. Far from it - there were just as big and mean Mods as Rockers!

Include the womenfolk in that category ! :o

Parilla Tale coming up in the next 2-3 weeks - and not a Mod or Rocker in sight  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 08, 2012, 09:50:52
Here it is then, a gentle Tale about my involvement with Moto Parillas.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – June 2012
“2 Moto Parilla’s and the Renault R8 Gordini”

By way of explanation, the Renault R8 was a compact saloon, produced from 1962 and like previous Renault models, spawned a competition version – the Gordini. See previous pix.

The cars were way ahead of the UK competition featuring 4 wheel disc brakes, independent suspension all round and a HEATER ! Yes, at this time in the UK [ early 60’s] a heater was still considered an optional extra. :o

The cars had an excellent large passenger compartment with truly luxurious seats. Being rear engined, the front “boot” [ trunk ] space was quite limited, and of course you couldn’t just prop the lid open for large loads as you could with  traditional front engined car.

Anyway – that was the car. Now the bikes. 8)

I’d come to own a Parilla courtesy of my pal Ted Bloomfield. He’d put me in touch with a guy that owned one and wanted to build a Triton – I had a spare Dommie rolling chassis, so a deal was done.

The bikes were typical of small Italian machines of the era – beautifully made and exquisitely crafted. They were also quite quick compared to British offerings of the same / similar capacity. There was absolutely nothing wrong with my model, but the engine looked so ……. right – that I just had to strip it down and take a look inside! Inside was no different to the outside appearance – fine tolerances and parts that just fell together. It was on one of my trips to Ted’s [ to get gaskets ] that he told me of a guy that he knew about 25 miles south of the River Thames and only 40 miles from my house who “was into Parillas”.

Unfortunately there was no phone number for the guy, so it was down to swift drive down to see if he had any spares for sale. I called my Father to see if he fancied a trip out, as he’d been housebound for a few months following a knee joint replacement. And so we set off in my Gordini, with a pocket full of cash hoping to get a bargain or two.

As we pulled up at the house I spotted a complete Parilla in his front garden.

Fortunately for me he was in and it soon transpired that he had 2 complete bikes – both up and running. He’d also had an ultimatum from his Wife – new kitchen required, which meant he’d have to sell something to raise the cash. He’d actually got the first bike out of storage to start it up and make sure it was in a salesworthy condition ready for advertising in the “Exchange & Mart” – our weekly advertising “bible”.

We got the second bike out and both started and ran, albeit with a bump start due to flat batteries. I made certain his Wife was present for the negotiations  ;) and made a stupidly low offer for the lot – which she saw as a new cooker, fridge, whatever and made him accept the offer on the spot – provided I took them then and there! 

Now came the fun bit. ::)

Anyway – an hour later the wheels and forks were out and the engines dropped on his garage floor. I took the tanks off and some of the ancillaries to stop them getting damaged. That was the easy part – the parts were crammed into every nook and cranny and no matter how we tried, the front boot lid just couldn’t be closed shut. Aerolastics [ elastic luggage straps ] – don’t you just love them . With four of them secured underneath the front wheel arches and over the boot lid, we eventually got everything packed in – AND I could just about see over the lid [ front hinged, rear opening ]. After a few miles everything settled down to the point where I could go round corners without something or the other hurtling across the car. Boy was I happy, especially when wifey came out just as we were leaving with a big box of spares, gaskets and handbooks / manuals and insisted that we took them so she could clear some cupboard space.

In those days there were various tunnel crossings of the lower Thames – the newest being the Dartford crossing. When it was first opened it shortened our journey to Brands Hatch by some 1 ½ hours each way – saving a trip up the Thames virtually into the East End of London. Eventually a second parallel tunnel was opened to cope with the additional traffic – each one being two lanes one way. At the same time toll booths were installed which were manually operated. The Parillas were only 25 miles south of the tunnels and a further 15 miles or so from home.

Another piece of relevant info. for non – UK residents. A vehicle has to be taxed for road use – a Road Fund licence, and although insurance was de-rigeur, we would often avoid paying the Road Tax as long as possible. Usually you could get away with it on a casual Police check by saying “The tax is in the Post” – which then meant you had to buy tax for that complete month – a risk you’d take. Mainly because this was a council matter and NOT a police issue, the bobbies couldn’t be bothered with the paperwork. As I had been in the process of applying for the tax when the Parilla offer came up, I had all the relevant documents in the glovebox ready to send off. Anyway, on this occasion I’d chosen to use the “Tax” money to buy Parilla spares ! As I pulled up at the booth, the guy was giving us the evils due to the aforementioned propping open of the boot lid – but as I could see over it, and it was secure, there was bugger all he could do about it. However, just as I was driving off he ran out of the booth and stopped me – as he’d spotted my tax was out of date [ disc on windscreen ]. I was busy telling him I’d sent the documents off only 2 days before – when Father piped up “No you’re mistaken I saw them in the glovebox” !!  >:( Then it was too late and the jobsworth insisted on seeing the documents. Caught red handed. Thanx Father ! So my Parilla spares had now cost me the Road Tax and fine. Even that wasn’t enough to take the shine off my bargain purchase. Memory fade’s set in now as far as the price, but I do remember it was about a week’s wages. Or to put it another way - about a quarter of what they were worth.

It wasn’t until quite recently that I became aware that Ted Bloomfield had at one time been an importer for the Moto Parilla range – that was before his secondhand bike breaker business.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/moto_parilla_sport_speciale_175cc.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 16, 2012, 06:48:38
Update on the Carroll Shelby tribute story. Going well, I'd forgotten just how many "Tales" there are to tell [ that I was involved in ] - so, I've decided to break it into 2 specific tales. One revolving around the "Innes Ireland Memorial Rally" - a 4 day event held in the UK and attended by all the good and great of motoring legend. It culminated in a huge cavalcade of Classic and Race cars from Birmingham to Silverstone Race circuit.

The second will be the story of Carroll's World Championship Anniversary at Le Mans, which also commemorated his race win with Roy Salvadori [ now also recently passed away ] in the Aston.

Whilst these 2 tales are being finalised [ can't rush these ], there'll be another concerning Mrs.B the first, my Connie, a train and a long push. Probably 2-3 weeks away.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars042.jpg)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img477.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: MikeyG on Jun 19, 2012, 22:44:47
Loving ghis thread BC. Took me 3 or 4 tries to tell my dad your story of resting the manx engine in a safe place b'cos i couldn't stop laughing.
I would be keen for a book if you do it.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 20, 2012, 04:35:11
Loving ghis thread BC. Took me 3 or 4 tries to tell my dad your story of resting the manx engine in a safe place b'cos i couldn't stop laughing.
I would be keen for a book if you do it.

Thanx for the kind words MikeyG.

Book is progressing nicely. The storyboard has more or less been finalised. I CAN'T rush John Hancox [ the artist ], as he's in great demand for commission work [ie pays him money ! ] and to be truthful, this is a labour of love for him.

There's still a few more Tales in the locker to come before the Shelby tribute Tales.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 10, 2012, 06:01:23
There'll be a final Tale before I go off to Saxony for our Summer break.

"Mrs.B 1st., the Connie, the train, and the long push home"

The 2 Shelby pribute Tales will be later in the year.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 11, 2012, 09:10:50
Here it is then, the final Tale before the off to Saxony for our Summer break.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day

“Mrs B. 1st., the Connie, the Train and the long push home”.

Another gentle tale of what it was like in the day. On this occasion I’d just bought yet another Connie – bog standard and exceedingly cheap – they really weren’t rated back in the day, apart from lugging sidecars around.
As an indicator – a boggo secondhand T110 would be say £120, and a really good Connie £70 -£80.

My parents had moved to the Midlands area, while I was still living with Granny in Dagenham. As I hadn’t seen them for while and I wanted to introduce the future Mrs.B. ::), we decided to take a trip up for a long weekend. I’d only had the Connie for a week and the only mods I’d had time for were fitting Norton straight bars and a Goldie silencer [ Siamese pipes ]. Previous Connies I’d owned were pretty bullet proof, so the thought of a 200 mile journey was no problem – or was it ? This was 1965 and Brit bikes were not known as distance cruisers, and yes I know, 200 miles today is a trip around the block, then – it was a trip into the unknown.

And so it was Friday after work with the rucksack packed with weekend items, we filled the tank and set off. I decided to use the M1 motorway, still a novelty for most of us. All went well round the North Circular [ past the Ace ] and up to the Busy Bee at Watford where a final tank fill and Coffee break was in order. As it was November and the weather none too predictable I’d decided to wear my Tank oversuit – both waterproof and warm. It was also blessed with many odd pockets and pouches, ideal for stuffing all manner of tools and essentials.

All went without incident – a cruising speed of 70 – 80 was more than comfortable for the 700cc Twin, and not too thirsty at that speed. There were very few service stations actually on the Motorway in those days so if you needed petrol or a pit stop generally that meant coming off into one of the now bye-passed sleepy little villages.

After what should have been our final stop we rejoined the Motorway in company with a 3.8 Jag S Type ………………..big mistake. :( Before long we were matching speeds – 70, then 80………then 100 and soon flat on the tank at an indicated 120. We blasted down the Motorway side by side for 20 miles or so, when suddenly the Connie lost power – dramatically and terminally. :o Nothing for it, but to pull over onto the hard shoulder. Pitch black, freezing cold and of course in those days no cell phones ! A brief inspection showed there was almost no compression and I immediately suspected a holed piston. Oh dear me, 80 miles from home and with a dead bike in the middle of the night.

First priority – get off the Motorway and into some civilization. Fortunately the road was downhill nearly all the way to the slip road some 2 miles away. Just as we were contemplating the push up the fairly steep slip road, a guy stopped with a Thames 15cwt panel van. We soon had the bike inside and he said he’d take us to the nearest garage. That then conjured up visions of lots of money changing hands. He then suggested leaving the bike at his house and getting the train home to return later with a van or trailer to collect the dead Connie. Turned out there was a mainline train station not 3 miles from his house.

Then I reasoned, if we’re getting the train, why not take the Connie as well ? In those days you could take a pushbike [ pedal bike ] on the train in the goods van – after all the Connie was only a pedal bike, without pedals. ;)

So that was the decision, after a welcome coffee we set off for the station – now 2.0 am Saturday. I decided to park the Connie outside the station as there was some 2 hour wait for the first train through. I then took the tank suit off so as not to appear too obvious as a motorcyclist and bought 2 passenger tickets and a “bike” pass at the kiosk. Although the tickets were bought “through” to our home station of Romford, that did entail a change of train at London Euston – another point at which my plan might fall apart.

I waited around the concourse until all the officials and guards had wandered off and then pushed the Connie down the 30 or so steps [ !! ] of the passenger stairway down onto the platform. There was a pile of goods on the platform ready for loading into the goods carriage, so I simply hid the Connie in the middle of the pile and attached the bike pass to the handlebars. When the train eventually pulled in I went over and helped the guard to load all his parcels – including the Connie ! He expressed surprise that the railway policy was now to accept motorbikes, as they’d been banned following an unfortunate petrol fire some years before. Still he couldn’t argue with the stamped pass attached to the handlebars.

I thought I’d give the guard a few quid to ease his conscience about having the Connie aboard, only to realize that my wallet and fallen out of one of the many pockets in the suit when I’d taken it off. A frantic rush back up all the steps to the ticket office was well rewarded when my missing wallet was there in the lost property dept.

I decided to spend the journey in the goods van with the Connie, as much as anything to inspect the motor to see if I could find out what was wrong. Removing the spark plug on the suspect cylinder and poking a screwdriver down revealed that there was indeed a hole where there should have been aluminium.

By the time we were an hour into the journey, the guard became very chatty and I’d told him the story of our mishap. That resulted in copious cups of coffee and a share of his swag from the buffet car !

The train finally pulled in to Euston, and again we helped the guard to unload the parcels. He had a word with the Euston Station guards and the Connie’s onward journey was assured. The guys even put the Connie onto one of those curious 3 wheeled “tugs” to take it the ½ mile to the Romford platform. Dawn was just breaking and I was able finally to get to a public telephone box to let my parents know what had happened as they had been expecting us at 10 o’clock the previous evening. Finally we got the bike on to the Romford bound train’s guard van and settled down to the last part of the journey – almost.

At 7 am the train arrived at Romford station and we were virtually home – except Mrs. B’s house was some 3 miles from the station ! No chance of calling any of my mates out at that hour, so I decided to push the dead bike and send Mrs. B home on the bus. I hadn’t realized just how “not flat” the flat roads were around where she lived. What was just a brief whiff of gas on the bike now turned into a lung bursting uphill push ! I finally got the bike back at 10 am – some 15 hours after starting out.

By mid-day the motor was out and stripped – and yes there was the holed piston………..Fortunately there was no other damage apart from a very small score on one of the bottom end shells. All back together with a spare piston and barrel by 2.0 pm – and ready for the night’s blast down the lay-bye!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 24, 2012, 13:35:03
Just a headsup before the off to Saxony. The first of the Shelby Tales is coming along well and will be ready early September.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Garage Rat on Jul 24, 2012, 22:35:51
You are taking your time with it. As you should I suppose, Anything involving someone that reputable and famous should be well thought out and prepared before sharing with the world. 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 11, 2012, 05:34:59
The 1st tale involving Shelby is almost completed - no earth shattering revalations here, just a personal insight into the private man when he's amongst like minded souls and without the glare of the camera or the eavesdropping microphone.

End of the month latest.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 16, 2012, 06:24:53
Quick update - just giving the Tale the final proof read and checking my memory banks ...........

There will be some unique pix attached to the Tale, just need to find how to post multiples - doesn't seem to work with Photobucket.

I'm just going through my pix now - these were all taken in the day when 35mm film ruled, so I need to go through them one by one and scan them for upload.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: ProSimex on Sep 16, 2012, 09:52:47
Great story, must be nice to live in a country with decent rail transportation.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 27, 2012, 06:09:25
That's it - final pix now sorted out and awaiting scanning. Early next week. 8)

Pro-S - there's NO way you'd be able to get away with that in the UK now.

You'd have to book the bike as freight, drain all petrol and oil and cover any sharp or sticky out items.

The bike would have to be booked in to the freight department who would then load / unload your bike and in all probability damage / scratch it with NO chance of their insurance ever coughing up !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: ProSimex on Sep 29, 2012, 17:52:21
Well yeah, but at least you can get on a train without breaking the bank.  Its cheaper for me to fly to Toronto or Montreal then to take the train!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 04, 2012, 12:20:10
Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day – October 2012.

“Carroll Shelby – The Innes Ireland Memorial Rally”

Several people have contacted me over my connections with Carroll Shelby – so here’s a brief backgrounder as a prelude to the main story.

In 1978 I visited my old pal [ and partner in the UK based “Americar” speed shop ] Keith Harvie, who had moved to the US to set up Performance Automotive Wharehouse [ PAW ].

I spent some time with Keith – including visiting his neighbours on the trading estate in Tarzana – including one Don Prudhomme !

Keith was busy building an Arntz Cobra complete with genuine 427 side oiler and all the good bits. I felt there was a good market for such a replica in the UK and we spoke with Steve Arntz to try to set up a deal for 2 cars. He refused to supply outside the Continental USA – so Keith bought the 2 kits for me [ !! ] and shipped them to England where I’d just set up my speed shop “Muscle City”.

The “chassis” was an abysmal mess, the body wasn’t much better. So we completely revamped the body and I designed a chassis taking Jaguar suspension. That was my introduction to Cobra replicas – there then followed 25+ years of involvement developing, manufacturing and selling. Along the way I developed a friendship with my pal Adrian Cocking from Realm Engineering [ RAM ] – who at that time made the fiberglass bodies for me. I continued to liaise with and design for AC over the years, so when Shelby American contacted Adrian to discuss a sole UK approval for Cobra replicas – I was called in to head the negotiations. Long story short – the approval was granted [ unique outside the US ] and I became very friendly with Shelby and ended up assisting in the setting up of his European Transplant Trust – handling organ transplants for underprivileged people. I was designated as the European Liaison Officer.

It was under this guise that I organized the vehicles for the celebrities to drive during the memorial festival for Innes Ireland. Innes was a truly talented driver who like many succumbed at a far too young age to cancer. This was at a time when the drivers were not so full of their own importance and counted each other [ in the main ] as comrades as well as competitors.

I arranged for a display at the National Racing Car show to showcase the Transplant Trust and it was during this time that all Shelby’s car racing buddies got together to honour Inness Ireland with a huge cavalcade, culminating at Silverstone Race track.

I arranged cars [ replicas ! ] for Carroll [ Cobra of course ], Sir Jack Brabham [ D Type ], Richard Noble MBE – former world speed record holder [ XKSS ], D Type for John Surtees MBE and various D’s and Cobras for other dignatories including the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

After a Black tie dinner the preceeding night – the public in their classic cars – all 2000+ of them - congregated in the car parks of the National Exhibition Centre. The first stop over was the Jaguar Works in Coventry, where a lavish lunch had been put on by Jaguar for the dignatories. When the cavalcade started out it was emphasized that this was taking place on public roads and that the national speed limits should be observed ………………………

Well that lasted for all of 5 miles until Shelby overtook Sir Stirling Moss and gave him the finger ! Later the police reported a convoy of “fast moving cars” travelling on the motorway at speeds in excess of 140 mph !! No action was taken and the whole trip turned into a bit of a tear up.

I was travelling in my Cobra with the BBC television cameraman [ lady actually ] to record as much as possible.

It was a pure delight to see Shelby totally at ease with his racing mates, even my intrusion with the camera and interviews was not an imposition as I was considered a friend.


It was a revelation to hear stories that at the time could not possibly have been published. Like the time a certain driver at Le Mans put the Ford GT into the sandbank at Mulsanne corner rather than drive it as in his words it was “Bloody lethal”. Or when describing his championship winning Aston [ with Roy Salvadori as co-driver ] as “basically, a sack of shit”. Or when Carroll was asked about Enzo – “a man who needed a size 12 up his ass”.

All the celebs and dignatories gave up a considerable amount of time – some travelling 1000’s of miles to be there. The rally raised over £50K that was split with specific Cancer Charities, and apart from the evening soiree – the celebs received not a penny.

Apparently Innes Ireland was a definite hooligan – in a nice way. A rebel rouser and one to party.

Carroll told us of the time after the Spa race, when Innes decided he wanted to see the view from the top of the local church. Having had a few drinks [ after the race ] he was refused entry to the church …….Carroll and the boys bet him he wouldn’t be able to get to see the view as the priest was adamant at not letting the drunken revellers into the church. So Innes proceeded to climb up the outside of steeple ! He did make it to the top, but didn’t make it down again before the priest had called the local gendarmerie. When they arrived -  lucky for the boys they were race enthusiasts – Carroll arranged for all present to autograph copies of the race programmes and forget about Innes’ little escapade.

When the cars eventually arrived at Silverstone they were all lined up around the circuit – with Carroll with Moss riding shotgun in the lead Cobra. The cars stretched 3/4s of the way round the circuit and were 4 abreast. The Cavalcade then took 3 tours of the circuit before parking up for the speeches from the various celebs. The whole event was filmed by a bunch of friends from a local Film and lighting hire company, who with the management’s blessings took out several exceedingly valuable cameras, sound and lighting equipment – not to mention two company support vans and a specially adapted motorcycle film platform!

It would be hard to imagine today’s crop of F1 superstars all coming together for such an event for one of their number. 

        Our stand and Cars
 (http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars037.jpg)


Carroll in our Parade Cobra at Silverstone with Sir Stirling Moss and Berek Bell waiting for the off.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars025-1.jpg)

Carroll, Roy Salvadori [ Carroll's co-driver ] an Sir Stirling Moss with the Le Mans winning Aston.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img477-1.jpg)

The Unique Endorsement fender plaque for RAM cars.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/SHELBYPLAQUE001-1.jpg)

The BBC "Camera Car" - my Cob.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars033.jpg)

More pix to follow next week – scanner’s gone awol !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: The Giant Robot Co. on Oct 09, 2012, 13:30:01
I finally have the book project site up and running. My idea for this started almost a year ago and while it has taken a while to get it underway, I'm happy to say that it's alive. The book will be called "Rust Revival" and I have to say this thread, all these stories, was a huge inspiration to put the book together. I want to try to gather as many stories from the cafe racer culture as possible, especially from the guys who "were actually there". If you are still interested in submitting a story I will place the link below and you can check it out. I just received a fantastic story regarding a bit of fishing you might know something about :)

I also encourage anyone else reading this thread to submit a story of their own.

http://www.rustrev.com/story_submit.html
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 09, 2012, 17:36:36
I finally have the book project site up and running. My idea for this started almost a year ago and while it has taken a while to get it underway, I'm happy to say that it's alive. The book will be called "Rust Revival" and I have to say this thread, all these stories, was a huge inspiration to put the book together. I want to try to gather as many stories from the cafe racer culture as possible, especially from the guys who "were actually there". If you are still interested in submitting a story I will place the link below and you can check it out. I just received a fantastic story regarding a bit of fishing you might know something about :)

I also encourage anyone else reading this thread to submit a story of their own.

http://www.rustrev.com/story_submit.html


Yes, c'mon guys - Hoof where you at .....take a small break from making your outfit do another 20 mph at Bonneville next time out and give us some stories ! This book deserves to succeed - it's about "us". That's "us" in the 60's and you guys who've taken up the gauntlet on our behalf since.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Oct 09, 2012, 18:06:55
Hey BC!  A bit difficult to stop working when its still racing season.  We had a great time at Bonneville.  I think I mentioned I opened the Weslake out to 546cc to be able to run in the 650 class.  Ran a top speed of 133 mph on gas.  Set new gas and fuel records in the 650 class.  I had a couple of problems in the gas class but upped the record from 83 to 118.  But Len went to World Finals and upped that record to 121.  So I have to head back.  He couldn't get near my fuel record (set on gas) of 128.703 mph.

The season ends in a month or so.  I should have some time then.  But I got some sponsorship in the form of a 750 Commando engine.  I just have to build it.  Should be an interesting winter.  And hopefully a very interesting 2013 Bonneville.  But I'll find time.   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 09, 2012, 18:10:17
Hey BC!  A bit difficult to stop working when its still racing season.  We had a great time at Bonneville.  I think I mentioned I opened the Weslake out to 546cc to be able to run in the 650 class.  Ran a top speed of 133 mph on gas.  Set new gas and fuel records in the 650 class.  I had a couple of problems in the gas class but upped the record from 83 to 118.  But Len went to World Finals and upped that record to 121.  So I have to head back.  He couldn't get near my fuel record (set on gas) of 128.703 mph.

The season ends in a month or so.  I should have some time then.  But I got some sponsorship in the form of a 750 Commando engine.  I just have to build it.  Should be an interesting winter.  And hopefully a very interesting 2013 Bonneville.  But I'll find time.   

More power to ya Hoof ...................... this book just wouldn't be complete without your tales.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Oct 09, 2012, 19:44:31
Got to finish the season and think about writing something.  I also have a lot of work to do on the sidecar over the winter.  Plans are to run 650 and 750 sidecar class at Bonneville.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: BLSully on Oct 11, 2012, 10:50:56
BC, Still love reading your stories. Thanks for continuing to post them and I can't wait to read the book!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 14, 2012, 17:17:31
BC, Still love reading your stories. Thanks for continuing to post them and I can't wait to read the book!

Why thank you kindly sir.

I'm putting together the Tale of Carroll at Le Mans for his 35th Anniversary Commemoration [ World Championship ] - that's one week I'll NEVER forget !! I'll finish it before Christmas.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 28, 2012, 08:22:10
Just a small update ......... 8)

I spent all yesterday [ Saturday ] up in the loft going through my "old" 35mm pix - remember them guys, before phones and pads and gawd knows what to take pictures with ?

What was originally intended to be a quick scan round, turned into a 3 hour wallow in nostalgia. In fact Mrs. B thought I'd gone out !  ::)

Anyway, the reason for this pic hunt was to find stuff related to the aforementioned Carroll Shelby at Le Mans story.

I've come across some real gems - absolute unique stuff, some I took following Carroll round the Circuit du Sarthe whilst driving the RAM race Cobra and taking pix at the same time.  :o

Amazingly quite a few were in frame !

The story's about half done, ready for Christmas.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: BLSully on Oct 29, 2012, 20:58:10
Waiting patiently (http://www.freesmileys.org/smileys/smiley-basic/popcorn.gif)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: MILKY on Nov 05, 2012, 11:01:29
I finally have the book project site up and running. My idea for this started almost a year ago and while it has taken a while to get it underway, I'm happy to say that it's alive. The book will be called "Rust Revival" and I have to say this thread, all these stories, was a huge inspiration to put the book together. I want to try to gather as many stories from the cafe racer culture as possible, especially from the guys who "were actually there". If you are still interested in submitting a story I will place the link below and you can check it out. I just received a fantastic story regarding a bit of fishing you might know something about :)

I also encourage anyone else reading this thread to submit a story of their own.

http://www.rustrev.com/story_submit.html

will promote this idea everywhere.. FB, TWITTER ETC ETC... good work.

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: The Giant Robot Co. on Nov 05, 2012, 12:50:02
Thanks Milky. I've done everything I can possibly do at this point. It's now in true proving mode as its success relies on the story submissions.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: MILKY on Nov 05, 2012, 13:17:45
Thanks Milky. I've done everything I can possibly do at this point. It's now in true proving mode as its success relies on the story submissions.

i admire your spirit.. you know its one thing to buld bikes but its another to try and go ¡beyond that, to celebrate the history of our "hobby"... have you come across sites like "kickstarter" where you can raise money and promote your book. cloud funding?

i have some experience with this area.. i'm willing to help. pm me maybe.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 05, 2012, 18:45:56
Thanks Milky. I've done everything I can possibly do at this point. It's now in true proving mode as its success relies on the story submissions.

I have run club mags in the past as well as contributed to motoring and Motorcycle magazines and books. The BIGGEST problem I ever had was getting enough copy !

Good luck in getting your stories together. Got mine !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 23, 2012, 08:09:05
Here it is then guys - the Bumper Christmas Edition !!!!  8)

It'll probably take until Christmas to read it all. All I can hope is you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed reliving it. Pix will have to be drip fed as I don't know how to do those clever multi post jobbies.

Pix BTW are unique and never published previously.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day –  [ ‘ish ].  November 2012

“Carrol Shelby and the Good Ole Boys do LeMans” or “A Christmas CARROLL”

Again a little backgrounder is required here. During 1993/4 I was heavily involved with Shelby and Shelby American – initially collaborating with SA on Carroll’s endorsement of the RAM Cobra replica, and as I became more involved – and friendly with Carroll – he asked me to head up the European branch of his Shelby Transplant Trust. I was appointed European Liaison Officer, and in this post I was also tasked with getting the Trust as much publicity as possible. This began with the Innes Ireland Memorial Rally [ subject of a previous tale ] and continued with my securing Free stand space at the prestigious Racing Car show held in Birmingham – see attached pic.

It was whilst attending this show I introduced Shelby to one of the organisers of the LeMans 24 hour race from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. He [ ACO ] had approached me with a view to us running a round of the RAM / Bardahl Trophy series prior to the 24 Hours race proper. The RAM / Bardahl Trophy was a one make series for identical RAM Cobras – which now had Shelby’s personal endorsement. In the event, the control tyre supplier to the series cried off as they were concerned about the stress of 10 laps including the fearsome Mulsanne Straight – even with chicanes !

The ACO were pretty dissapointed as they wanted to mark Shelby’s [ with Roy Salvadori ] 35th Anniversary race win [ in the Aston ] which secured Shelby’s World Championship.

I suggested to him that maybe I could persuade Shelby to attend and we would use several of the Trophy series cars in the cavalcade laps before the race. He jumped at the suggestion, so it was just a matter of running it by Carroll – with the platform that we could also have a high profile promotion for the Transplant Trust – job done.

It ALSO just so happened that the current owner of the race winning Aston – Harry Laventas – is a REAL petrolhead AND the Aston was being displayed at the same show – see where we’re going with this ?

Harry was delighted when I rolled up on his stand with Carroll and Salvadori in tow ! Carroll and Roy were re-united with their race winning car and Harry was over the moon with the publicity opportunities of having Carroll pictured in his car. We all attended an evening soiree [ paid for by the  show organisers ! ] at which I suggested that Harry might like the opportunity for Carroll to drive the car around LeMans on the occasion of the 35th. anniversary of his win. Does a Bear shit in the woods ? Another deal done.

Why all this effort you may ask – well it had always been my ambition to drive around LeMans in the pre-race cavalcade – as any competitive appearance would be most unlikely !

With all the deals in place and the handshakes done – it was just left for me to organise things.

We prepared the car that Carroll had driven at the Innes Ireland Rally and 6 of the Trophy cars – we didn’t want any foul ups. Carroll called me to let me know he was bringing Bob Bondurant and Pete Brock over – could I organise RAM Cobras for them to drive ? Won’t bore you with the details of the nights of midnite oil burning, but we eventually wound up with the cars ready the weekend before the race. I was tasked with taking Shelby’s ride on a car trailer, whilst the other cars went via car tranporter.

So to the event – again pretty well working flat out the week before with little sleep I set out with the trailer accompanied by Mrs.B and AC from RAM [ Realm Engineering ]. I’d been a regular visitor to the 24 Hour race for the previous 20 odd years, having not missed a race since my first visit in 1968 [ another 100 or so tales right there ! ].

This was a journey I could do with my eyes shut ……………… well actually they were shut, about 3 am on the notorious Paris Peripherique. Yes, I fell asleep momentarily and awoke to find myself heading for the steep curved banking. Nearly got away with it, but just clipped the back of the trailer which then resulted in spinning round [ 20’ trailer and similar size Citroen CX Estate ]. When we came to rest [ AC and Mrs.B had been asleep when it all started ] it seemed like everything must surely be wrecked. Fortunately there were very few cars around at that time in the morning and we were just surveying the damage when a van full of Gendarmes turned up. They weren’t worried in the slightest that the accident had happened – just how to clear the road before rush hour. I suggested the best way was to take the Cobra off the trailer [ which had jack knifed into the back of the Citroen ] get that off the road and try to disentangle the trailer and Citroen and get that off the road. I should point out that we had smashed one wheel and ripped another tyre to shreds. Oh yes – Shelby’s Cobra had slid across the trailer and broken a chunk out of one of the “one off” wheels ! No other damage to the car, which was quite miraculous – except we were still 200 miles from LeMans with a wrecked trailer. There was also a 5 gallon Jerry Can of petrol in the boot of the Cobra which somehow had flipped the lid open spilling high octane fuel all over the road ! And there were the Gendarmes sitting on the Armco – casually smoking the obligatory Gitanes !

Having managed to pull the trailer and Citroen apart, we found there was surprisingly very little damage to the car and apart from a damaged light lens we were good to go. That just left the trailer – eventually we managed to sort out two diagonally opposite hubs with fully inflated tyres, but it was obvious that the Cobra couldn’t go back on. So there we were, wounded trailer and Cobra with a chunk broken out of the wheel. We elected to drive the Cobra and just take things steady with the trailer and car. We stopped for a well deserved breakfast and rang back to the factory to get one of the lads to drive out that day with 4 matching wheels and tyres for the Cobra and 2 spare wheels for the trailer.

And all this before we even arrived at the circuit. We eventually limped in to the campsite behind the Grandstands at 6 in the evening – only to find that AC had forgotten ALL the passes and paperwork to get us in ! 30 minutes of wrangling later and we were in. Just as we pulled in to the area reserved for Shelby and the others – the broken wheel on the Cobra finally gave up and broke completely !


The Bardahl hospitality boys had set up the truck and awnings etc. for us  - and the ATS company [ Cobra Daytona Replica ] had set up their hospitality truck and arranged 3 motor homes for Shelby, Brock and Bondurant. The head guy at ATS was trying to court Shelby to endorse his new Dayona Rep, and had gone all out with the hospitality to impress him – and the designer, Pete Brock.

Brock and Bondurant said they’s like to get acquainted with “their” Cobras – Carroll of course had already done a few hundred miles in “his”. Carroll took his Cobra out for a run and was none the wiser about my mishap on the way down. He did comment that the car was wearing different wheels to the last time he drove it !

On the evening before raceday the ATS guys had decided to thow a big party in Shelby’s honour [ remember the sucking up bit ? ], but an hour or so into the festivities, Shelby excused himself, and came round and joined our party as he said “with the good ole boys – not those starched up Frogs”. It wasn’t long before Brock and Bondurant also crept away and joined us.

That was when Mrs. B introduced Shelby,  Brock and Bondurant to the wonders of Pastis – Pernod to be precise – the stories flowed thick and fast of Shelby’s early days. That was a wonderful evening under the Sarthe stars.

Race day dawned with a beautiful sunrise and everyone had crawled out of their respective pits by 9.00am to a typical “Full English” breakfast – again the boys declined the offer of joining the French party for their typical “Continental” breakfast ! We prepped the Cobras one final time and took them onto the circuit to line up before the Cavalcade. Carroll asked us if we’d be peeved if he drove the Aston on the first laps with Harry Laventas – as if !!

So we all set off on the Cavalcade with myself driving “Shelby’s” Cobra – my lifelong automotive ambition finally achieved. Although I did have a job to do ! We needed pix of the event – some I even managed to get in focus and frame. We all came into the pits after the parade laps when Carroll transferred to the car I had been driving and I swapped to one of the race Cobras to follow him round. At the last minute a French TV cameraman asked if he could ride shotgun to film the event. I was grateful for that, as it meant I didn’t have to try to take pix at 100 + silly miles an hour. Carroll waved across and started off down the pit lane, I put my foot on the throttle – only to have the cable snap !!!! What were the chances of that………..

Not to be done out of my extra laps [ this time just the two of us ], I quickly pulled the outer cable off and fed the inner through the back of the bonnet so I could operate it by hand – that was on a 275 bhp race engine BTW.  I forget just HOW many times I’d done precisely that as a get home fix on my  bikes in the 60’s !

By this time Shelby was at the far end of the pit road and I had some serious catching up to do ………. Ah – problem, one hand on the throttle wire – which I couldn’t let go of, and one hand to steer ..oh shit. I asked the TV guy to change gear for me as I obviously had no free hand. He said he couldn’t – and then decided he WOULD after I took my one free hand off the wheel to change gear ! I finally caught Shelby up by the time we got to the Esses before the Dunlop Bridge – the Esses were a little exciting with just one hand on the wheel.

 The next two sections were pretty straightforward, but by this time Shelby was up at around 120mph + and the swoop into Tertre Rouge was looking decidedly iffy. However 400 yds into the Mulsanne Straight and the additional power of the race Cobra came into play and I’d caught up with Shelby and the cameraman was ecstatic with the shots he was getting. I have to say he was a brave guy, not sure I’d have been wielding that camera around kneeling up in the seat with no seat belts !

All was going really well until we got to the first chicane – I’d been up and down the Mulsanne dozens of times in all manner of fast cars – but NEVER encountered the chicanes before – oh dear. I arrived at the first chicane way too fast and in the wrong gear and with the cameraman concentrating on getting his shots – I just had to go for it. Shelby was well impressed when I came round the outside of him in the chicane, I didn’t let on afterwards that I was on the verge of total loss of control  [car and bowels ].  I was ready for the second chicane and I got the camera guy to select 3rd. [ 5 speed box ] and brake down to the correct RPM, rather than change down twice as you would normally. Shelby pulled away a little at the exit of the chicane as he was in the right gear ! The Cobra was then given the beans and we just topped 185mph as I caught Shelby just before the 40 mph Mulsanne Corner. Again, travelling way too fast, the car ended up in a beautiful power slide [ that’s to say more luck than judgement ] with the cameras flashes in the crowd going wild. Next was the series of bends at Arnage, this time I got the cameraman to put the Cob in 3rd. and “pottered” round whilst Shelby showing his old flair just powered through and was gone. The rest of the lap went without hitch, until we came to the new to me Ford chicane before the start finish straight.

Shelby was only supposed to do one lap as the time was running down and I was ready to go into the pits – which circumvented the chicane  - so at the last moment I had to take the chicane to follow him ……….again lurid slides and much encouragement from the crowd – if only they knew. The marshalls and officials jumped out down the straight and Shelby realised that he wasn’t getting another lap and slowed to take the adulation of the crowd – I fell in behind, didn’t want to miss that reflected glory moment.

The cameraman asked me if I could do a burnout so he could make his final shots through rubber smoke – could I !!!!!!!!! He was talking to a fully paid up Comp Altered driver ! He steadied himself  against the roll bar – and at 7000 rpm the clutch was dumped and a full 100 yds rolling burnout was the result, oh yes and I got a serious bollocking from the marshalls.

Back in the pits and the cars were taken into the paddock, whilst we went on up to the hospitality suite. Oh how the other half live.

The rest of the event was pretty much an anti-climax. Shelby was feted as the Grand marshall of the event, we got to have a superb meal put on by the ACO – and then we went back to our camp site to enjoy the racing whilst Shelby was whisked off here there and everywhere.

Then down to Earth - we spent the next few hours after the race straightening out the trailer and tow car and getting 4 good wheels and tyres on it for the trip home.

That wasn’t quite the end of the adventure - Harry had flown in on the Saturday morning [ in his private jet ] landing at the airport adjacent to the track. The plan was to take Carroll and the boys back to London for some further festivities before they went back home. What we didn’t know was that the main Organ Transplant Centre in France had organised an evening meal to cement the European part of the Transplant Trust. That only left Myself, Mrs.B and AC to represent the Trust as Harry had to be back in London that evening. AC begged off – as that kind of thing is not really him. Mrs. B and myself lapped it up ! I think the party finally finished around 3am – by which time we were too “tired and emotional” to even contemplate going back to the campsite, only to find that the French had booked a suite for us at this VERY expensive hotel – all paid for. When we got back to the campsite the next morning – it was very desolate. Everyone had left and it seemed a sad end to what had been an amazing experience.

And now some 18 years later everytime I see AC’s trailer – I look at the bow in the nearside metalwork and think of that 3 am adventure on the Peripherique – and my week with some true motoring legends.   

Happy Christmas /  Thanksgiving one and all  - Beachcomber

L-R Moss, Shelby,Salvadori, Brooks, Sir Frank Wells [ heart Surgeon ] and unknown [ sorry ]

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/shelbynec1994.jpg)

Carroll with Roy Salvadori and Moss sat in "their" car

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/carrollroyandstirlingaston.jpg)

Carroll in the same car just entering the Mulsanne Straight

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/carrolllemans1994aston.jpg)

AC in one of the race Cobras taken from my Cobra.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/AClemans1994.jpg)

Carroll, John Attwood [ CEO Addenbrookes Heart Transplant Centre ], Bob Bondurant and Pete Brock before the Cavalcade

 (http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img230.jpg)

A round of the RAM / Bardahl trophy at Dijon in France.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars114.jpg)

A transporter load of RAM Cobras - including the "factory" race car at the back

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars044.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mr.B on Nov 24, 2012, 07:51:39
Now that is good reading!
BIG THANKS for sharing your life's story's!

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 24, 2012, 09:31:21
Now that is good reading!
BIG THANKS for sharing your life's story's!



Still more to come hopefully !!

Just came across this - one of my all time favourites of Carroll .....relaxed [ thanx to Pernod ! ] and just chilling out and signing a few posters and autographs.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/carrollsigningposters.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 25, 2012, 08:15:42
And this is what the car looked like with the One-Off wheels that I managed to break !

TJ, AC, John Attwood, Carroll at Silverstone for the Innes Ireland Memorial Rally.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars028-1.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 13, 2012, 08:03:18
Just an update - I just found out that Sir John Attwood [ above ] recently passed away - RIP. :'(

A few more Tales coming up in the Spring - back to bike related, although there's a thousand auto related - if anyone's interested.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 24, 2012, 08:21:12
Closing down for the Christmas break - just thought I'd wish everyone a Happy Christmas and a healthy New Year. 8)

More tales in Feb / March ............................. ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 17, 2013, 17:44:13
Just thought I'd redeem myself after posting "that pic"  ;)......................... working on the latest tale now.

I'm looking for supporting pix. but they're ye olde 35mm type, so finding them will take a while. Late Feb / March then.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Jan 17, 2013, 17:59:56
Late Feb / March then.  8)

You're killin' me BC...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 17, 2013, 18:17:13
I've asked before ...... but's what's the concensus for auto related tales ? A bit like the previous 2 Shelby related tales really [ although NOT Shelby ]. There's 25 years of successive attendance at the Le Mans 24 Hours race for a start.

A lot of the bike tales that are left are sort of anecdotes rather than full blown tales - still a few though ! 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Jan 17, 2013, 20:27:33
I can only speak for myself when I say that I will probably read just about anything you put on these pages. Planes, trains or automobiles. :)
Title: Re: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: BLSully on Jan 17, 2013, 21:00:23
I've asked before ...... but's what's the concensus for auto related tales ? A bit like the previous 2 Shelby related tales really [ although NOT Shelby ]. There's 25 years of successive attendance at the Le Mans 24 Hours race for a start.

A lot of the bike tales that are left are sort of anecdotes rather than full blown tales - still a few though !

BC... this is the first thread I check for new posts when I log onto DTT. You post any story that even remotely has to do with internal combustion engines ;)

Sent from my Galaxy Nexus using Tapatalk 2

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 18, 2013, 08:46:04
Im not worthy ..............................

Thanx for the vote of confidence guys. I'll let a few more trickle in to make sure people do want to hear about the auto related stories.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Alex D on Jan 22, 2013, 19:16:52
Just read through the entire thread over the last couple of days, fantastic reads. Please put more up  BC, they are all great.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Jan 23, 2013, 12:49:05
"Please sir, may I have some more?".


hint hint  ;  )
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 23, 2013, 13:29:23
"Please sir, may I have some more?".


hint hint  ;  )

OK ......... I have a short list, still probably 4 weeks away though !!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 26, 2013, 13:34:36
OK the next one will be car related ......................

"Wobbly Wassell, TJ's 10th Le Mans Raid and the vanishing TR7"

That IS the eldest son and heir to the Wassell Motorcycle dynasty and the TR7 was Triumph's in house joke at making a sports car.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 19, 2013, 08:50:58
So here it is then - not a bike in sight !! - but a "tale" never the less.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day

“Wobbly Wassell, TJ’s 10th LeMans Raid and the Vanishing TR7”

As usual a few backgrounder notes for this one.

I had been going to the LeMans 24 hour race since 1968 [ every year thro’ 1996 ], and what started as myself and a couple of mates escalated over the years to the point where I was organising trips [ “Raids” ] for various Hot Rod and Custom car clubs. By the time of this tale we had regular bands of 30 – 50 cars making the trip. 8)

I had also moved [ via France   – another tale  ::)] from Essex to the Midlands, complete with Mrs.B 2nd.

Once established there, we were again in the thick of the Hot Rod and Drag Racing fraternity and had opened a Speed Shop [ "Muscle City" ]. Shortly after the shop opened we had a young guy come in with a brand new TR7 [ Triumph’s “sports” car ] and asked “What can I do with it”. I’m sure he meant customising with allloy wheels, sidepipes etc., but I just handed him a box of matches ………………………. ;D

Despite that, he went on to have the car customised and painted AND became a firm friend. He was Steve Wassell one of the 2 sons of the Wassell Motorcycle Parts empire. He was considerably younger than most of us and would always try to impress by drinking as much as possible during our Saturday afternoons at the shop. This drinking habit followed him into maturity [ ? ] and he was never very steady on his feet, thus earning him the nickname “Wobbly Wassell”.

In fact in later life he became so fed up at being thrown out of his favourite Wine Bar – that he bought it !

By this time we had elements from the old Essex crowd and my new pals from the Midlands area – with myself as the common link. Every year we had the “old brigade” from previous years plus a sprinkling of new faces.

On this particular raid Wobbly decided it was about time he broke his LeMans virginity and came along – complete with customised TR7. There was a catholic selection of cars, from true Hot Rods – V8 Ford pops, Model B and a tasty Model A Pick up – the odd Custom Van [ still popular then ] as well as a sprinkling of Muscle Cars [ Mustangs, Camaros, Cudas, Sunbeam Tiger ………. ] and even one or two daily driver cars.

Again, Steve was the youngster at the party and true to form was arse’oled before he got off the ferry ! In hindsight – so were most of the rest of the crew. In reality, we WERE piss artists, and again in hindsight I’m amazed there were no accidents or even tragedies.

There was this sort of belief that once you were on French soil – you could get away with anything. In truth, in those days the French had a VERY laissez faire attitude to drinking - 2 hour lunches with a couple of bottles of wine was the norm. As long as you could stand up – you could drive ! That changed dramatically several years later when the alchohol tolerance was virtually zero. However, at this time there was no restriction as such, and we took advantage of the situation – immature / reckless - I know. ::)

Every town we went through presented opportunities for impromptu Drag Races and burnouts. Wobbly had the piss royally taken out of his choice of car and suffered many good humoured jokes and leg pulling. His car had a full length sunroof, which due to the extremely hot weather he naturally had open. BIG mistake …………. Big George drove alongside [ on the footpath [ ie the inside ], while his mate poured a bottle of beer all over Steve through the sunroof ! I did mention immature didn’t I ?

We made LeMans without any real dramas and miraculously – no accidents, to set up in our usual spot in the Camping du Houx. By this time, it was recognised by the other campers that this particular corner of the campsite was unnoficially reserved for “Les Ros beefs”.

There were all manner of tents from 2 man Arctic units to family tents with 4 or more bedrooms. However, due to the drunken state most of us were in by the time we had to put the tents up – the results were ………. interesting.

Most of the tents hadn’t seen use since the previous year’s LeMans raid, and it was about this time that you remembered you had a hole in the canvas – the zip didn’t work, or there were parts that were just plain missing. Now most of us struggled with the 3 dimensional puzzle that was the frame and poles even when sober – so the scene is set for some serious mayhem.

One crew just gave up and settled into some serious drinking, and when night came along they simply crawled under the canvas – like a huge duvet ! On this occasion I had borrowed an 8 berth tent from a pal who assured me it was the dogs bollox. Yes it was – except he had forgotten to give me the internal bedroom compartments. :(

There were 3 couples sharing the tent, and we had nowhere for the separate toilet compartment ! Cosey.

Wobbly had a brand new 4 man tent all to himself and was very smug as it was one of the new [ then ] self erecting jobbies which was operated by a compressed air canister.

Eventually Steve passed out next to his beloved TR7, but we put him in his tent for safe-keeping. Then someone had a brilliant [ booze fueled ] idea. We moved another large frame tent complete and placed it over the TR7 – completely hiding it from view !

Everyone gradually collapsed or retired to their respective tents to ready themselves for the big day and the 4.0 pm send off for “the lads” [ start of the race ].

One of the couples sharing our tent had a pretty tempestuous relationship and when they had plenty to drink “she” became beligerant – and “he” got very chilled and could care less. So we had “her” ranting and raving at “him”, and he just looked at her with a stupid grin on his face – which made “her” rant and rave all the more. We all crashed out in our various sleeping bags, but one by one nature called and it was off outside the tent doors for a pee. Except he couldn’t find the tent opening in the dark – and after much muttering, swearing and falling over, he had finally explored all the sides of the tent walls without finding the relevant opening. So he thought “Fuckit” and just peed on the inside of the tent ! It WAS a big tent with plenty of space – and hygiene was probably not the top of the priority list for the LeMans week.

Except of ALL the places he chose to pee, it was all over “her”. At first she didn’t realise, although his noise and falling over had woken the rest of us anyway. She slowly roused to find her other half giggling and peeing all over her ! We made it worse by turning on the torches which we had and illuminating the scene. Why hadn’t we put them on so matey could find the door earlier ?? That would have spoiled the fun. She decided that it was necessary for her to have a shower [ 3.0am ] in the camp shower block. Now visualise 2000+ campers and just 6 primitive showers [ with even more primitive toilets ] – you can imagine the state of them after 3-4 days use. Anyway she made it down there with the aid of a torch, clutching her shower bag and giving everyone in sight a round of fucks.

What she did NOT know was that the organisers turned the water off at midnight, so there was only a residue of water left in the tanks – cold anyway. That didn’t bother her and in any event the weather was stinking hot, even at 3 in the morning.

What DID bother her was when she got all lathered up and found there was no more water left to rinse off ! However, nothing if not resourceful she reasoned that at least one of the other showers must also have some water left. She decided to come out of the shower, just as a group of German and French revellers walked past ……. There was this naked bird more or less hiding her modesty under a layer of lather, shouting and hollering at all and sundry. She made it to the adjacent shower, but not before at least a dozen camera flashes went off !

By 9.0 the next morning those that were not still pissed, started to make it out of the tents. Eventually Wobbly came out and rubbed his eyes and took in the surroundings ………….. it was brilliant watching the sequence of his mind trying to get round the notion that the TR7 was not were he left it – or at least not in sight.

We let him fret for half an hour or so before someone relented and opened up the tent covering his TR7 !! 

As a footnote – the following year there were at least 5 or 6 picures of the shower girl pinned to the camp notice board, strangely she didn’t go that year – or EVER again !!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Feb 19, 2013, 10:49:41
;D!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: BLSully on Feb 19, 2013, 22:09:54
Another entertaining read BC!  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Feb 19, 2013, 23:18:28
Thanks as usual, BC, that was great.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 25, 2013, 11:58:26
Well there were no "fuckoffs" to my auto related story, so maybe another coming up next month.

Still looking for relevant pix, hope to find them soon [ ye olde 35mm stuff ! ]

I do have a few bike related Tales left, but I'll have to drag them out a bit !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Feb 28, 2013, 07:55:33
Love the stories BC. I spent the better part of the afternoon reading, instead of getting my bike ready for a Safety Cert.

Can't wait to hear more mate. Keep it up!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 03, 2013, 06:31:29
Love the stories BC. I spent the better part of the afternoon reading, instead of getting my bike ready for a Safety Cert.

Can't wait to hear more mate. Keep it up!

Please get your priorities right ....I'm just recounting my past - you are living your future - get the bike done !

Thanx for the kind words though - I hope each and every one of you lives a full life and when YOU reach your own three score and ten [ well next year ! ] you will all have your very own "tales" to pass on.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 09, 2013, 08:17:40
Mrs. B has a week off work next week [ well deserved ] and is threatening to have a major sort out in our loft ! There are literally 1000's of old pix up there, so that will be a good opportunity to sort out some pix for related tales. Sadly they only relate to the past 30 years we've been together and the 6 years from Mrs.B 2nd. - nothing before that [ Mrs.B 1st ], damn her eyes.

We're off to Saxony for a break in April, so the next tale will either be just before, or more likely - just after.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Mar 09, 2013, 14:28:27
I'll buy another patch if it'll turn it into "just before"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 15, 2013, 11:47:14
I'll buy another patch if it'll turn it into "just before"

Could be Rich,

I've decided on the Tale - another auto related one - hope nobody minds.

"How to close the Paris Sports Car show down single handed".

I'll leave you all to imagine what that might be !!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Green199 on Mar 15, 2013, 14:30:53
Ahh a good few hours spent reading this thread.

Beach and Hoof, you have lead some lives.

Looking forward to more stories.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 15, 2013, 15:47:21
Green199,   Still leading it.  Getting ready for the El Mirage dry lake season and I'll be at Bonneville this year (God willing and finances permitting).   The sidecar topped 134 last year.  This years target is 140.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Green199 on Mar 15, 2013, 16:01:37
Green199,   Still leading it.  Getting ready for the El Mirage dry lake season and I'll be at Bonneville this year (God willing and finances permitting).   The sidecar topped 134 last year.  This years target is 140.

Amen to that!

Would love to hear how you get on there when the time comes. :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 15, 2013, 17:42:51
I'll let you know how I get on.  Here's a short video from the 134 run last year.  A friend from Denmark was over on vacation and shot it.  Turn up the volume.  I love the sound of singles!!

http://youtu.be/r5EBHbk3Ito
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 07, 2013, 08:00:12
I'll let you know how I get on.  Here's a short video from the 134 run last year.  A friend from Denmark was over on vacation and shot it.  Turn up the volume.  I love the sound of singles!!

http://youtu.be/r5EBHbk3Ito

Must have played that at least a dozen times Hoof - any more ????? P L E A S E .

Anyway, there will be time for one more tale before I go off to Saxony to re-charge the system.

Another car orientated one I'm afraid ............... this one relating to a Car Show in Paris that we attended in the early 80's. Even that's over a quarter of a century ago !!!

Coming up in the next week .
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Apr 07, 2013, 18:29:32
BC   Glad you liked it.  The only other video I have is one that was shot in 2010 by one of the crew.  I didn't know he was doing it.  The first bike out is the late Willie Buchta on his 1000cc Harley sidecar.  Listen to him wring it out!  He knew how to put Harleys together,  I don't know who was on the Honda.  Then me.  I had a problem with the clutch lifting cleanly.  One of the plates was slightly warped but there was nothing I could do except gave it a few whacks with a hammer.  The shifter was a very short throw and with the clutch drag I couldn't get it into first.  So I had to leave in second.  Never went so far in one gear without shifting!!  It was still a 500 then.  Ran 126 which was quite respectable.  Only 3 mph short of Willie's liter Harley.


http://youtu.be/UwoRBeNkrTk
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 09, 2013, 18:57:25
Well here as promised is the latest Tale.

There are a few more bike related tales, but that's the subject pretty well exhausted then. Not sure that the auto related Tales are right.

There's hundreds of biking anectdotes - but as I said, only a few more that would make an interesting full length tale. Maybe a few more will come back to me while on on my Saxony break in the next few weeks.


Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day
“How to close a Paris Car show down single handed” April 2013

The background to this tale brings us forward 20 years from my good old Café Racer days to a time when my day job involved designing and manufacturing replica Sports cars. There were just as many jolly japes, only this time involving four wheels.

I had struck up a good friendship with a French guy – Thierry – who had become a good customer in the late 70’s for rod and race parts. I knew him mainly from his attendance at UK Car shows and of course when he collected various body and engine kits from me.

At the time I ran a speed equipment shop in Birmingham [ “Muscle City” ], which complimented the Track T’s and other body kits we made. I had also struck a lifelong friendship with my pal AC from RAM who also ran a business making GRP bodies and kits. At this time neither of us offered replicas, although I had secured a couple of Cobra kits from Arntz [ via Keith Harvie at PAW ] and was busy designing a chassis. Adrian made my bodies for me – and in return, I supplied him with speed and rod equipment for his operation in the London area [ I was in the Midlands ].

The system worked well, and even when we both [ seperately ] got into manufacturing Cobra kits it was not seen as outright competition, more of a business liaison and he continued to make my bodies.

The bizzare part is that AC was not comfortable fronting car shows and dealing with the public, and on these occasions he would ask me to do this for him. Naturally this only worked when I wasn’t exhibiting in my own right. His interest was mainly the European shows – Essen, Frankfurt, Paris and Milan ………with a few 24 hr race attendances – Spa and Le-Mans specifically.

So when on one occasion Thierry came to collect some Track T bodies, we ended up discussing an upcoming show at the prestigious Paris Porte de Versailles show. We ended up chatting ‘til late and treated him [ !! ] to an English Fish and Chip supper. We had taken pity on him as he didn’t appear to have much spare cash and we guessed he was carrying out his business on a bit of a shoestring. We had been using the apartment above the shop to entertain our friend, and as we had plenty of spare bedrooms invited him to stay for the night and instead of driving home [ some 25 miles ] AND having had 3-4 bottles of wine, we also stayed. The accomodation was, let’s say a little spartan – but comfortable.

Normally when Mrs. B and I stayed overnight at the shop our 2 Dobermans used the bedroom [ and bed ! ] that we had offered young Thierry. When we went to wake him in the morning there he was with the Dobes lying all over him ! We thought that he wouldn’t mind and that he was probably pretty used to non luxury surroundings. He declared himself happy and had made good friends with the dogs. The next morning we discussed the Paris show in more detail and Thierry invited us to take one of the Cobra along on his stand to test out the French market.

The Paris show [ “Paris Retro” ] wasn’t really my cup of tea at the time, so I called AC to see if he wanted to do it. Yes – was the answer as long as I did it for him !

At that time we were staunch Francophiles and ANY excuse for a week or so in Paris [ especially all expenses paid ] was not to be passed on. Thierry asked me to round up 5 or 6 Rods to also go along to the French Club stand – again all expenses paid by the organisers. Eventually we managed to get 4 exceptional Rods to go, with the agreement from the organisers that all travel, hotel, fuel expenses would be met in full, plus a £150 attendance payment.

All went without a hitch leading up to the show – right up to the point where we had to use a fork lift truck and a pile of pallets to get a 27T Roadster off the back of a fixed bed lorry ! The car was put on the back in the UK courtesy of a garage lift being raised to the height of the flatbed and simply driven on. They reasoned that they would do the same thing when they got to Paris – wroooong. Anyway, we got the car off without any visible damage and got everyone into the show without problem. As usual with Paris car shows this one was a 10 day affair taking in 2 weekends..

Initially the show was well attended and all the Brit cars [ and the Cobra ] were well received. One of Thierry's displays was a Convertible Citroen 11CV they had built [ from a saloon shell ] for former racing driver Jean-Pierre Beltoise - and he was due to collect it after the show. He was so impressed with the Cobra, that he ordered one to be built in LHD for his own use. Many years later this car was to be the catalyst for the RAM / Bardahl Trophy races.

Anyway – all went well until about mid-week, when the Brits had realised that their hotel expenses were not being paid – additionally the travel expenses that had been agreed to have been paid by the first Monday – hadn’t. Alarm bells started ringing and as the best [ ??] French speaker there I was asked to represent them along with my pal Thierry – who WAS the best French speaker there !

It soon became clear that attendance had not been what the organisors expected and was going to fall well short of meeting all the expenses, show costs, etc. – never mind what had been promised to myself and my fellow Brits. By the Wednesday things had reached the stage where most of the exhibitors who had been promised expenses were beginning to realise it wasn’t going to happen.

I confronted the organisers in their private offices, where they admitted the shortfall and said that only a handful of people might get paid. “That’s great – we ARE that handful – get the cash out”. Anyway they got the message and we duly received ALL our expenses and payments to the detriment of most of the other French exhibitors.

Our Hotel owner had taken matters into his own hands and come along to get his money direct from the organisers – and they paid us as well for the Hotel costs !

By this time there was serious mutterings amongst the French exhibitors who were beginning to realise they were going to get the shaft, and several of the smaller stands [ juke boxes, scooters, clothing ] were starting to pack up and leave.

All the feelgood atmosphere had evaporated by this time and none of us wanted to be there any longer than necessary. Thierry had the biggest problem as he was located 100kms or so south of Paris [ Auxerre ] and had no way of getting his stuff back without calling in his drivers – which meant the next day.

Screw that – we started dismantling the stand and called J-P Beltoise to come and collect the 11CV and decided that although we should have been heading North to the ferry port, we decided to stop and help Thierry get all his stuff back home. So if we drove the Cobra and Thierry’s Citroen C4 Woody [ Model A lookalike ] we could use the trailers to transport the stand and show material - sorted. As soon as the others saw this they all joined in and within an hour there was mayhem with cars and stands pulling out.

Thierry put a call in to his folks to let them know we’d all be staying over for a few days, then we planned to catch our pre-booked ferry on the Monday morning.

Now then – bear in mind what’s been said about the assumption that Thierry was a bit of an impoverished Rodder – imagine our surprise when we eventually got to Auxerre and found ourselves driving out into the countryside, rather than some grotty town apartment.

Even more surprise when we turned into a driveway that would have done a Stately Home proud – in fact it WAS a Stately Home – or to be more precise a GBFO Chateau !!!

Thierry then peeled off the main drive into a wooded area where there were several more modest single storey buildings – “Ah that’s where he must live “.

But hold on – the cars and trailers were parked up and we took a secluded wooded walk of about ¼ mile which opened out into a huge gravelled and fountained area flanked on 3 sides by the Chateau.

“Ah I did tell you I lived with my parents, didn’t I ?” Well yes you did, but this wasn’t what we had in mind. Our thoughts went back to the night above the shop with the Fish and Chip supper and the Dobes sharing his bed !

By now it was 3 am. And we didn’t want to rouse the household, so Thierry said we would spend the night in his “apartment” – that was one of the 3 wings of the Chateau – albeit one of the two lesser wings.

The following morning we were woken and summoned to the main wing of the Chateau where the most sumptuous of breakfasts awaited us.

It transpired that his father was the French equivalent of Wimpy or McAlpine [ huge construction engineering companies ] who had the main contract for repairing and laying French autoroutes [ Motorways ].

His Mother fell in love with our Daughter Holly who was only 3 at the time and insisted that we spend the rest of our stay in the “Crystal Suite”. This was a four roomed suite in which every room sported expensive crystal chandeliers and lights. The whole place was loaded with very expensive antiques and artifacts – and they seemed completely oblivious as Holly played with and got chocolate over some very expensive looking dolls.

Holly was given one of the dolls that we later discovered was genuine 18th century and from the Royal court in France  - and NO I haven’t weighed it in for bike parts. 

The trip back was a bit of an anti-climax after the high adrenaline of the previous week – but one never to be forgotten and I learned a useful life tip – not to pre-judge a person by their looks and demeanour !!!
 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Apr 10, 2013, 20:28:03
If this is how you intend to keep spacing out the bike tales, you'll hear no complaint from me, BC. Good yarn as always.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 16, 2013, 06:03:16
That's it then folks - off to Reichenau for a week or so.

I'll be back fully recharged and ready to get stuck in to the projects, hopefully to see some meaningful progress !!!  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Apr 16, 2013, 08:49:21
Ha, great read.  Enjoy your holiday and can't wait to see what gets done to the various 2 wheeled mechanations when you have fully charged batteries.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 11, 2013, 07:24:27
While I was chilling in Saxony a few more bike related tales floated into my head - like I said before, most are small anecdotes not worthy of a full tale.

However, one Tale came to mind when 5 of us set off from Dagenham [ London 'ish ] for a week in sunny Cornwall. Rather, the tale centres around the events on the return journey.

" Five for Sunny Cornwall" [ apologies to Enid Blyton ] in the next 4-5 weeks
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Green199 on May 11, 2013, 11:41:16
While I was chilling in Saxony a few more bike related tales floated into my head - like I said before, most are small anecdotes not worthy of a full tale.

However, one Tale came to mind when 5 of us set off from Dagenham [ London 'ish ] for a week in sunny Cornwall. Rather, the tale centres around the events on the return journey.

" Five for Sunny Cornwall" [ apologies to Enid Blyton ] in the next 4-5 weeks

As a Cornishman myself, looking forward to this one Beach!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 21, 2013, 06:11:28
Gentlemen,

it is with deep regret that I have to inform you that the "Tales" will be a little slow in coming [ still coming though ], and additionally some of my projects have to be culled.

I returned from Saxony with what I thought was a severe cold / chest infection - so bad [ after 2 weeks ] that I had to visit my GP.

"Do you want the good news or the bad news young Beachcomber", quoth the Doctor.

"The good news is that you can survive with one kidney"  ;D

"The bad news is that the degeneration of your kidneys has recurred and you have lost 40% 'ish efficiency of  one, but the other is now starting to decline". :'(

This kidney problem has been dormant for so long now I'd forgotten all about it - keep taking the pills and all that.  ::)

The GOOD news is that the new medication is starting to take effect immediately and the doctor is quite confident that the degeneration can be halted.

Just thought I'd let you guys know before someone gets on my case about lack of Tales, or what's happened to the projects.

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 21, 2013, 13:17:14
Hope the problem clears up BC.   If there is any problems we'll join you in a few verses of that great Rolf Harris song "Who's got Sidney's Kidney/" and that should cure the problem.    "Ooohhhhhhh   Who's got Sineys kidney?  He said we could 'ave it didn't he."
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: teazer on May 21, 2013, 14:00:06
BC, I had that same chat a few years ago, except that my kidneys were fine apart from a large tumor on one that was pressing on other organs. One came out and I'm still here so far.  That reminds me.  Time to drink some more water.  Be kind to your kidneys.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 21, 2013, 16:34:18
Thanx for the kind thoughts gents .................. that IS the real PISSER, having to drink so much water !!!! ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: teazer on May 21, 2013, 17:41:44
And if you are a heavy drinker and use lots of salt, your life is about to change. Low(er) salt gives your kidneys and heart a rest and booze dehydrates you and makes the kidneys work harder, so take it easy.  You don't have to change to a rabbit food and water diet, just give some of your organs an easier time. And get used to visiting the mens room often.
Title: Re: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on May 22, 2013, 00:09:25
...I returned from Saxony with what I thought was a severe cold / chest infection...

Fuckin' mechanics, always so sure it's a carburetor problem and not an exhaust issue. :)

Get well, BC, or we'll have to admit to our own madcap experiences.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Mbstr51 on May 27, 2013, 01:54:41
Ive been lurking and enjoying this thread for some time now, Mann would I love to sit at the bar and listen..... Best wishes to you SIR!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 06, 2013, 05:21:32
Sitrep ...................... the degradation in both kidney's has now been halted - again ! ::)

Still feeling lousy, but in a positive way, if y'know what I mean. ;D

However, this second scare [ in 4 years ] has served to focus my attention on getting a few things sorted out before it's too late.  :'(

None of this in a morbid way - just a desire to finish things off and ENJOY before any more health issues, old age [ older in my case ] takes over.

Here's a little life tip for all you 30, 40, 50, 60 year old youngsters .........................don't think you will live forever - get as much done as you can, while you can and enjoy life to the hilt. 8)

I feel a Tale coming on ................................... "Five for Sunny Cornwall" [ with apologies to Enid Blyton ]

give me a week or two chaps. ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Jun 06, 2013, 19:41:23
Hope you heal well BC.

I think Colin Chapman's advice, "Simplificate and add lightness", works as well in life as race mechanics.  ;)
Keep the "stuff" that really matters, and cut the rest. Make the most of the time you have.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 11, 2013, 11:33:49
Seriously on the mend - thanx for all the good wishes.

However, I've had a couple of weeks of enforced "take it easy" - so plenty of time to rethink that tale and to remember some little gems along the way.

This one is a bit of a Beachcomber notalgia selfish tale ... forgiveness invited.


Beachomber’s Tales from the Day  - June 2013

“Five for Sunny Cornwall” [ Apologies to Enid Blyton ]
 
Here it is then – the latest of the tales, and in reality a gentle story of just how things were in the day – on an “ordinary” everyday level. No Norton engines dropped on pal’s backs, no sidecars parting company with the bike, no females mooning inadvertantly, or any other real mayhem – just how it was [ well maybe a little mayhem ! ].

Part 1 – The Plan

The year was 1963 and young Beachcomber was still a single man with 100’s of biker mates -  most, if not all into the Café Racer scene.

At 19 years old, Beachcomber along with several of his mates had discovered the joys of circuit racing as a means of –

a. staying alive and
b. keeping the road licence !

As now, circuit racing was a relatively safe way to hoon around without the risk of being knocked off or worse by an errant car driver coming the other way.  [ Sometimes – the same way ! ]

This was also the period of dabbling with racing [ and road ] sidecars as well as racing solos, and at the time of this particular tale Beachcomber was ”bikeless” as far as a roadgoing mount. The Tribsa was now an all out Racer, and the sidecar outfit was a pure circuit machine [ Kneeler ]. As far as day to day transport, it was down to the trusty JU250 van – which didn’t do a lot for the street cred, but was used primarily as race transport.

One Friday evening up at Ted’s caff on the Southend Arterial road, there was a group of five particularly close mates – Beachcomber, Bonneville Bob, Dommie Dave, Brian Rocket and Gordon Goldie – OK his name was Jerry, but that didn’t go with his 500 Clubmans’ Goldie !

It was a balmy Summer evening and for some reason the talk got round to having a group holiday for the 5. It wasn’t long before Cornwall was the suggested destination – quite ambitious in those days. NO Motorways, very few Service areas or fuel stations [ although plenty of little Caffs ] and of course NO mobile phones. From the Romford area that was a distance of around 250 – 300 miles each way. Not even a second thought about that today, but in 1963, that was considered a marathon.

The only fly in the ointment was that only FOUR had current roadworthy bikes, the JU250 was NOT an option ! Neither was the thought of riding pillion as each considered the others total loonies.

And so it was that on Saturday the boys all called round to Beachcomber’s garage to survey which of the two race bikes would be used !

In a fit of total selfishness [ by the others ] – it was decided that the outfit was the obvious choice – as the guys then had somewhere to stow tents, camping gear etc, without cluttering up their bikes ! after a serious round of fucks to all concerned, the deal was swung by the fact that they all agreed to pay for the fuel used by the outfit – IF their stuff could be stowed aboard. Job done then.

It worked out well - Brian Rocket agreed to make an auxilliary alloy fuel tank to go in the nose fairing of the chair and various other mods I’d been waiting for – were done. Remember, then as now the Beachcomber had no welding and few fab skills [ high quality anyway ]. A few new passenger handholds were fabbed up and welded in which would double up as luggage hold down points. As the outfit was rigged up for push starts, we decided that a kickstart might be a useful addition – until we realised that the kneeler tray was in the way – ah well, back to the push starts then !

There were no lights / horn of course – so those areas were both attended to – the horn by way of the old Clown’s type bulb horn. It was actually more like a bugle as it was liberated from Dommie Dave’s Dad’s vintage Bentley ! This was also in the days of serious Rally lamps [ for cars ] – Cibie being amongst the best – just so happened that Gordon Goldie’s dayjob was at a Speed equipment shop, which also sold Cibie spotlamps ! That in turn meant fitting a dynamo back on the engine [ 500 Triumph ] with a rudimentary wiring loom. The engine was fired by magneto, so that wasn’t a problem.

The lighting from the FOUR Cibies was nothing short of awesome, as all the others had to contend with the Prince of Darkness’ feeble lights. Remember this fact further along the tale.

Time for a trial around the block ……………………at just about this time Dommie Dave suggested that a registration plate of some sort might be a good idea ! A set of numbers from a “spare” Triumph bike was stamped into the frame and the relevant registration plates attached. With that done we headed out for a road test – only to realise we’d forgotten another little matter ………….. NO silencers, just two long tapering maggas – ah WTF, keep the revs down in town and we’ll be fine.

So with the transport sorted, the lads made their plans for having two weeks holiday. We had a dry run with the chair loaded up, and in truth, it handled a whole lot better than with no passenger at all ! All the mods worked well, and the auxilliary fuel tank [ 6 gallons ] was a work of art.

The only snag [ chair wise ] was that we had dropped right into one of the main holiday periods in the UK, and the roads to Cornwall consisted of “A” and “B” roads until you got to Devon, where they became “C” roads – not a lot better than tarmac’d farm tracks. No probs for the solos of course, they could weave in and out at will to get through the jams – but the outfit was essentially car width.

Because of this we decided to set out at night when we assumed the traffic would be lightest – it was.

Part 2 – The Journey

At around 7.0pm the group assembled at Beachcomber’s house for final checks on the outfit and the stowing of a few last minute essentials - mainly consisting of Brian Rocket’s Dad’s lethal home made Elderberry wine. At 8.0pm the journey began, initially through London and on to the main route to Cornwall. It was still play time as all the familiar roads were navigated – a couple of stops to relocate some of the load in the chair and then a final stop before the “countryside” appeared to fuel up and final oil etc. checks. Again, in these times – gas stations weren’t that plentiful in the countryside – especially if like Dommie Dave you had fitted a 3 gall Manx short circuit tank ! We suggested that he re-fitted his 5 gallon Manx TT tank – but he had stripped it down for painting ! Remember THAT further in the tale ! The others – Bob, “Gordon” and Brian had 5 gallon tanks, whilst the outfit had a total capacity of close on 12 gallons !

Needless to say the solo boys had great fun blitzing the outfit, which due to the short circuit gearing was as quick as the others up to around 70 mph, but started to loose out above that. It WAS however a genuine Ton machine – 105mph being it’s max on that gearing. The blitzing continued UNTIL real darkness fell – no universal road lamps at this time – in the countryside between towns there was virtually no street lighting at all.

Time to turn on the Cibies ! That turned the tables remarkably quickly, as the lads were then quite happy to sit behind the “pathfinder” outfit. All went without any real issues, and we stopped again for fuel just on the Devon border. We knew that the remainder of the journey would be on “B” and “C” roads, so we decided to realign the Cibies to give a wider arc of light, which would illuminate both edges of the road – with the two main units lighting up 100’s of yards ahead. We had just finished this task and were ahving last minute piss stops etc – when up comes the local plod ……………..

Was he impressed with the outfit ……….. the fuck he was. The next 30 minutes were spent with him crawling all over the outfit to try to find something dangerous / unroadworthy. We were doing quite well until he spotted the long tapering meggas. He was even less impressed with the fact that we had to bump start it – although there were no regulations saying you couldn’t. Harking back to an earlier tale – he decided to push his truncheon [ mini night stick ] up the exhausts declaring “ there’s no silencing in there”. That wasn’t so bad, except when he did that to the second megga, his fingers hit the still red hot metal and he dropped the truncheon, whereupon it slid neatly into the upswept megga !

He tried bits of stick an all sorts to retrieve it – all his efforts only serving to push it further down the pipe. Brainwave – “OK, we’ll start the outfit and with any luck it will blow the truncheon out”.

Rather than have to go back to his station and explain how he’d managed to lose it, he reluctantly agreed that as the only way. We then explained that in order to do that we would have to rev the engine excessively – WHICH WOULD OF COURSE MAKE A LOT OF NOISE. He could see the obvious trade off, and so the outfit was started, Did the truncheon come out ? Well yes it did – about 30 mph, smacking plod right in the solar plexus ! While he was still moaning and grasping his mid section we all decided that was a good time to leave – with the Grand Prix lump at 6000 rpm and making the most glorious yowling sound.

So the convoy got on the road again with the outfit at the head, literally lighting the way. Again all went without grief, until we suddenly realised that Dommie Dave was missing. We sent Bob back to find out what the problem was – he’d run out of fuel as he hadn’t filled up at the last gas stop! That’s when the outfit turned into a petrol bowser. We quickly disconnected the pipe from the auxiliiary tank fuel pump and had him gassed up and ready to continue. Again – with a suitable round of fucks.

The rest of the journey went without incident, all except one – a few near misses when the tailend Charlie “lost” sight of the pathfinder lights and nearly didn’t make a bend. Brian Rocket found himself as tailend Charlie and was just about losing sight of the pathfinder lights, when his own Prince of Darkness lights decided to go on the blink – literally. He arrived at an unsighted bend that all the others had made thanx to the Cibies, but he only saw it at the last moment. As luck would have it he was almost at a standstill when he ran out of road and slipped gently into a soft fern filled ditch. It was 10 minutes or so before we realised we’d lost him and turned back to find him extracating the BSA from the undergrowth. Amazingly no damage at all – not even a scratch on the paint!

And so we arrived at the campsite around 5.00am – totally knackered, but ready for the week of fun.

Part 3 – The week [ x 2 almost ] of Fun

We had arrived in a sleepy little coastal town of Fowie [ pronounced “Foy” ] and found a campsite that could only be described as  - well, spartan. But it WAS exceedingly cheap ! At this period in the UK, 2 week Summer holidays were beginning to be taken by the “working man” [ never understood that term fully – but you lknow what I mean  - Blue Collar – don’t understand .etc.,etc.]. Usually in an old pre-war banger of a car, or more and more likely by a Double Adult sidecar hauled by an old Panther or ex MOD BSA M20. People like “us” generally didn’t do holidays and it was 10 years or so in the future before the cheap flights and delights of Benidorm became the norm for young 20 somethings.

So to say the group – and more specifically – the bikes stood out, was a bit of an understatement. One stroke of luck was that the local plod Sergeant was a race enthusiast and spent HIS holidays at the TT.

After a plea to keep it down to a dull roar, we had free rein with the lack of silencing on the outfit, and various other misdemeanours. The 2 weeks [ cut to 10 days actually – see explanation ] went by without incident and all too quickly. We were introduced to the delights of Scrumpy Cider in the “Pirate’s Cove” pub by the aforementioned Sergeant on his night off in Civvies. And if you can’t have an after hours “lock in” with the local Police Sergeant – then who ? Nobody could remember much about the following day until late afternoon !!!!

We became quite friendly with the Copper, who was quite happy to chat about bikes and racing, and had in fact built an Ariel 500 single Hill Climb / Beach Racing bike. It wasn’t long before we were invited round to his garage to see the Hill Climber, and we even did some work on it for him ! As a thank you, he invited us to his cottage for an evening of TT films, which he’d taken over the previous 10 years or so – golden. The evening’s entertainment was augmented with a few gallons of his home made Scrumpy Cider – to those who do not know, that’s “rough” Cider that still has all sorts floating in it ! To round the evening off he produced a gallon flagon of home spun “moonshine” Apple Brandy …..the French call it Calvados. That was another lost day, as we weren’t even sober enough to leave his cottage until the following afternoon.

The bikes had all performed well on the journey down and through the first week, but then Gordon’s Goldie started making some strange noises – not engine related, so we just carried on regardless. We had all sorts of “normal” problems – Bonneville Bob’s lights failed completely and had to be jury rigged to produce main / high beam only, much to the annoyance of oncoming drivers on the narrow country lanes. The outfit had a rear wheel puncture, which was quickly fixed, and Dave’s Dommie decided to puke all the primary chaincase oil. It seemed that when we stopped on one of our coastal explorations [ he’d propped the bike up against a convenient rock as the sand was too soft to support a stand ] the rock had dislodged the rubber seal on the chaincase. Other than that, the bikes proved well up to the task. All the bikes were Café Racer styled complete with clip ons and rear sets, but there were no problems with wrists or shoulders, even when meandering at “normal” speeds down some of the country lanes.

We’d befriended a bloke on the campsite who turned up with an Ariel Square Four / Busmar outfit – complete with Wife, child and family dog ! This was a real throwback to pre-war style. He turned up on the site wearing a full length ex army Dispatch Rider’s coat, huge ex army guantlets, ex army boots and the obligatory pudding basin helmet and Mk 9’s. All this even though the temperature was in the high 90’s [ F ]. ! He’d also come down from the London area [ Croydon ], but it had taken him 12 hours !

We immediately thought of him as an “old codger” – but it transpired he was only 15 years older than our group. He was having a lot of problems with “pinking” and running on after turning the ignition off. We reset the ignition for him, but the running on still continued. We reasoned that the most likely cause was excessive carbon build up – IOW, he needed a de-coke ! The following morning we set to on the campsite and had the head off in no time flat – imagine that with your Gixer, Bandit, whatever !

Sure enough there was enough coke on the piston crowns / combustion chambers to run a small BBQ. While all this was going on, his Wife and child had whizzed off to the nearby beach – and she was absolutely gob smacked when she came back to see bits of the Squarriel all over the place. We even managed to anneal the copper head gasket over the camp fire and plunged into Wifey’s cooking saucepan [ NOT impressed ] and all assembled back up and running sweet as by lunch time.

As a reward the guy’s Wife made us a super meal which was stew made from local rabbit and potatoes and vegetables “liberated” from local fields. Made a change from our usual sausage and beans.

There was of course the usual bird hunting – which again at this time was NOT a foregone conclusion that you’d get your leg over. All the eligible female visitors were locked up indoors by their parents by 10pm – and most of the local girls [ men to women ratio 2 – 1 ] either had steady local boyfriends or were deemed not suitable talent. It was like being in a Monk’s retreat compared to our normal routine – and it was about that point we decided that we wouldn’t bother with holidays again.

The only real excitement was when the outfit almost got squitted by a large lorry – whose driver couldn’t see the knee high chair ! So we decided some sort of vertical warning was required. So a stop off at a seafront souvenir kiosk resulted in a shrimp fishing pole and net, with a suitably affixed Jolly Roger flag would do the trick. This was attatched to the sidecar mudguard and gave an additional 6 foot indication to lorry drivers that there was “something” there.

And so to …………………..

Part 4 – The Journey Home.

We reasoned that if we left a few days early [ OK the lack of horizontal jogging was getting to us ! ], we could again miss the return traffic and at the same time travel in daylight in order to actually see some of the countryside we had blitzed through on the way down.

The outfit was now a great deal lighter primarily as all the additional alchohol and food had been consumed. Ah yes, and one of the two tents we had was destroyed when a drunken Brian Rocket decided to dive on it to surprise those inside ! That also becomes significant later in the tale !

And so to the journey …………….. the plan was to get up early and get a good start before any traffic build up to give the chair an easier time. That all went for a shit when we were invited to a leaving party at the copper’s pub – ahhhhh Frank – that was his name, just come back to me. Another lock in had us drinking until 3 the next morning – boy those locals could party. So it was somewhat later than planned – around 11.00 am – that we said our farewells to Squarriel man and his family and set off back towards London. Another bonus – and a sign of the times – Mrs. Squarriel had packed a huge box of sandwiches and cake, fruit, etc. as her last thank you for fixing the bike.

The journey back passed without incident – until Gordon’s bike started a horrible misfire – not good on a single cylinder machine ! We struggled on for another 10 miles or so, until he eventually pulled up to see if we could make a repair. After a very brief inspection, it became obvious that the magneto was at fault – the cam ring that regulates the sparking advance had become damaged when the advance / retard cable nipple had broken off inside the casing and caused all sorts of mayhem. This was one fix we couldn’t sort without new parts. And we were still almost 100 miles from home. Remember – no mobile phones and in those days roadside recovery [ AA , RAC ] for bikes was virtually non- existent.

After 30 minutes of telling Gordon what a pile of shit his Goldie was [ not fair really as the mag was Lucas ! ], we realised that no amount of abuse and swearing would get the Goldie mobile again. We thought about – and dismissed – the possibility of one of the other solos going to a bike shop [ where? ] and getting a suitable part. Someone had the foresight to pack a tow rope amongst the “essential” equipment, but Gordon flat refused to be towed, having witnessed the previous towing farce with a pal’s engineless Goldie [ see previous tale ].

Then it came in a blaze of coloured light …………… strap the Goldie on to the platform of the outfit ! There was of course a lot more room on the way back – courtesy of Brian Rocket destroying one of the tents and us having eaten / drunk all the provisions we had taken with us. Seemed like a good idea at the time. Even with some ace tie down expertise by Dommie Dave, who HAD paid attention with his “Knots” badge at Scouts – a brief whizz up and down the road showed there was no way the Goldie would be stable enough to survive the journey home. Although the outfit was only 2 ft tall [ or so ] – with the Goldie on the platform, the whole plot became unstable. After some more thinking we decided to “chock” the Goldie up from each side with lumps of wood …………great idea – now for those “lumps of wood”, in the middle of nowhere. While we all debating the problem and possible solutions, Dave had broken out the camping axe and was busy destroying some of the local trees to secure the suitable “lumps of wood”. Eventually the Goldie was secured and deemed fit for the remainder of the journey home. That only left Gordon to choose a bike to ride pillion on ……………… It was a fairly obvious choice as Dave had a Manx seat to match his alloy race tank, whilst Brian Rocket had a single Taylor Dow race seat. That just left Bonneville Bob, who still retained a dual seat …..and who was probably the chief looney of the looney’s.

After a few miles, the extra weight and high COG of the Goldie was beginning to tell, so the convoy settled down to a steady 60 - 70 mph for the rest of the journey towards London, and beyond back to Romford.

Part 5 - The Obligatory Mayhem

Sanity reigned for 40 miles or so, until our new pathfinder got lost and ended up coming through London via the “London Bridge” – yes, THE London Bridge. We decided to stop off for a Hot Dog and Coffee and caused quite a stir amongst the London Bridge regulars when they saw the Goldie strapped to the outfit ! On the plus side, when we told them what had happened to the Goldie, one of the locals said he had a spare mag cam ring at home – some 15 minutes away. Half an hour later he was back with the part and another 15 minutes and the Goldie was back in rude health.

As “interlopers” in their local gathering it wasn’t long before tongue in cheek insults about our machinery started to get out of hand. Especially the outfit, where the banter was “ Where’s Chris Vincent”, and “ Probably a wannabe racer”, etc., etc. started to get under the skin. Dommie Dave was my sometime race passenger, so it wasn’t long before challenges were thrown out and accepted. First was a beautifully turned out Bonneville / Monza outfit that looked as if it had the legs. The route was explained to us and we had a brief SLOW recce to see what it was all about – and then the challenge was taken. As the outfit was essentially a racetrack refugee [ although they didn’t know that ! ] it was decided that the Bonnie would do a standing start, and we would push start my outfit. It was actually no contest – although we were giving away 150cc, my outfit was much lighter and nimble – plus Dave’s heroics hanging out and just brushing kerbs, cars, and street bollards.

Then up stepped a bloke with a 500 Goldie, which I just knew would be no contest for the outfit. This time it was agreed that the outfit should be running to even out the solo vs outfit race. Boy I wish I could have seen the Goldie guy’s face as the initial acceleration from the outfit – not to mention the deafening howl from the meggas left him floundering off the line and frying his clutch into the bargain. We were half way back along the route while he was still on his outward leg – we never did see him again that night !!!!!!!!

The “prize” was coffees and Hot Dogs all round for the Cornwall raid gang. The only problem was although the local guys loved the sight and noise of the outfit – local plod had been atracted by the racket and had driven over the bridge to see what was going on. The local guys saw what was coming and parked their solos all round the chair – hiding it from view – all bar that bloody Jolly Roger on top of the shrimp net pole !

The cops decided to turn a blind eye, especially when one of the locals turned out to be related to one of them and after they were treated to tea and doughnuts, they went on their way.

So there ended an action packed holiday – one that can NEVER be erased from the memory banks to become just another ……………………… Tale from the Day.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Alex D on Jun 13, 2013, 05:34:39
Another great story as usual. The part about the truncheon cannon, had me laughing for a while.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tetter on Jun 13, 2013, 10:05:44
Briljant !

I would love to see a picture of the sidecar outfit
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Jun 13, 2013, 10:12:45
Ha!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Jun 13, 2013, 10:22:02
Nice one as always. To bad the First Mrs. B burned all your old pics.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Jun 13, 2013, 14:23:46
Nice one as always. To bad the First Mrs. B burned all your old pics.
May the fleas of a thousand camels infest her snatch!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 13, 2013, 18:21:14
Nice one as always. To bad the First Mrs. B burned all your old pics.

and without exaggeration there were 100's of pix of the 2 chairs, and my race bikes .................as well as 100's of my own and those of pals..........................am I bitter ?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Pod70 on Jun 14, 2013, 18:42:50
Love the tales beachcomber and hope all goes well with the medication.

From the period and dates, you may have know my uncle, Roger Pocock and his mates who hailed from Southend. I think he had a Matchless at the time and like yourself has some great tales of a race outfit being used on the road
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 14, 2013, 19:03:26
Love the tales beachcomber and hope all goes well with the medication.

From the period and dates, you may have know my uncle, Roger Pocock and his mates who hailed from Southend. I think he had a Matchless at the time and like yourself has some great tales of a race outfit being used on the road

Surely NOT the same Roger Pocock that was president of the Vanner's Club ????
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Pod70 on Jun 15, 2013, 15:57:29
That's him! He's currently in hospital recovering from a major op but is doing well
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 15, 2013, 17:23:06
That's him! He's currently in hospital recovering from a major op but is doing well

Please give him my best - our paths crossed frequently during my days as Founder / President of the Eastern Cruisers car club [ Romford ] and various forays with vans. We  [ Americar] built a Rover Powered CF for Vauxhall / Bedford [ see pic ] in the early 70's and our Race support van was a CF with a small Block Chevy.

Small World eh ??????

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/van-1_zps6d187ffc.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/van-1_zps6d187ffc.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Pod70 on Jun 15, 2013, 19:21:42
Will do. Due to see him on Sunday. It's all his fault I got into bikes and custom cars/vans. Used to have a v6 powered 400e Thames myself
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Czech It! on Jun 21, 2013, 00:51:16
I just finished reading this thread (it took me a few days) but my god was it good!  Keep 'em coming BC!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 21, 2013, 05:39:21
I just finished reading this thread (it took me a few days) but my god was it good!  Keep 'em coming BC!

Why, thank you sir. I've had a bit of forced down time recently, and time to muse on my misbegotten past - or "Rose tinted Nostalgia" as we old farts call it !

Thousands of little anectdotes - not full Tales .... those "remember whens" that make you smile, or even chuckle to yourself. There's still a few full Tales worth the telling ..................

I have been VERY lucky in my life to have done the things I've done and met the people that I have - both well known and unknown to the World at large. And of course, there's Mrs B and my three wonderful Daughters

There have been very few bad or sad times - lucky.

As someone once sang "even the bad times were good".
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 06, 2013, 08:33:07
I'm off to sunny Reichenau next month to host the "7th. Annual Beachcomber's Pig Roast"........ if you gfind yourself in Germany [ Saxony specifically ] the dates are 24th. / 25th. August.

Let us know if you are coming so we can allocate bedrooms [ first come first served ] after they've gone [ 9 ] it's down to indoor camping in the dancehall or the double bed settee in the lounge !

Maybe one more tale before I go .........................   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: DesmoBro on Jul 14, 2013, 05:53:41
so get this....... this kid rips me off $130 on a bag of guess who(starts with mary ends with plane)  ...but it gets better... he meets me in the hannafords parking lot leaves his car there I give him a ride wait and hour he don't come back soo I go to the auto store buy an adjustable wrench (same lot as hannafords his car still there) he leaves his window cracked I reach in unlock it pop the hood take the battery disconnect any and all electrical connects plug wires etc... pop trunk take donut and jack (find 2 pieces of wood in my trunk) take off all 4 his wheels tires etc leave him with 2 pieces of wood the jack and donut....go home on craigslist Post up his home phone number with his facebook pic in the men for men section in craigslist ....now debating whether or not I should post the rest of his saturn in the free section


Haha ....no i'm serious

http://worcester.craigslist.org/m4m/3934710194.html

Picture taken 3 days later
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 30, 2013, 12:04:23
so get this....... this kid rips me off $130 on a bag of guess who(starts with mary ends with plane)  ...but it gets better... he meets me in the hannafords parking lot leaves his car there I give him a ride wait and hour he don't come back soo I go to the auto store buy an adjustable wrench (same lot as hannafords his car still there) he leaves his window cracked I reach in unlock it pop the hood take the battery disconnect any and all electrical connects plug wires etc... pop trunk take donut and jack (find 2 pieces of wood in my trunk) take off all 4 his wheels tires etc leave him with 2 pieces of wood the jack and donut....go home on craigslist Post up his home phone number with his facebook pic in the men for men section in craigslist ....now debating whether or not I should post the rest of his saturn in the free section


Haha ....no i'm serious

http://worcester.craigslist.org/m4m/3934710194.html

Picture taken 3 days later

Nice one ...... don't get mad get even ..as the sage said.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Jul 31, 2013, 00:44:10
so get this....... this kid rips me off $130 on a bag of guess who(starts with mary ends with plane)  ...but it gets better... he meets me in the hannafords parking lot leaves his car there I give him a ride wait and hour he don't come back soo I go to the auto store buy an adjustable wrench (same lot as hannafords his car still there) he leaves his window cracked I reach in unlock it pop the hood take the battery disconnect any and all electrical connects plug wires etc... pop trunk take donut and jack (find 2 pieces of wood in my trunk) take off all 4 his wheels tires etc leave him with 2 pieces of wood the jack and donut....go home on craigslist Post up his home phone number with his facebook pic in the men for men section in craigslist ....now debating whether or not I should post the rest of his saturn in the free section


Haha ....no i'm serious

http://worcester.craigslist.org/m4m/3934710194.html

Picture taken 3 days later
No problem, he probably borrowed the car from some dude, who borrowed it from his great aunt.
She probably has it insured for more than it's worth.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: DesmoBro on Jul 31, 2013, 13:30:58
Yea 4 eyes I think it's his Moms Car ha ha......Any one need a set of 4 4x100 15 inch wheels and tires?

$130
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 06, 2013, 06:24:17
Back to bikes and back to the beginning ................... how the Beachcomber started out on the path that has brought us up to date. What it was like to be a fledgeling biker in the late 50's early 60's.

In the next few weeks ............ "The beginning of Beachcomber's Tales" .................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 07, 2013, 11:58:19
Here it is then .............................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day                 August 2013


“In the beginning ………………….”     

Here’s how it all began, back in the late 50’s – the teenage [ just ] Beachcomber had a healthy interest in things mechanical - much to the dissapointment of Father, who had outlined a career path in the R.A.F. as a pilot.

WW2 was still raw in everyone’s mind. And TJ senior had flown Wellingtons in the North African and European theatres – so an RAF career was a given – in his mind.

Father took on a long term contract in North Africa – ironically helping to restore the infrastructure that he and his mates had bombed just a few years earlier  ::)… ahh the futility of it. He was paid obscene amounts of money by the day’s standards and within 2 years had saved up enough money to buy a suburban semi-detached house outright ! That was at a time when most of his contemporaries were living with parents or in small rented flats.

Surrounded by wooded countryside the new suburban estate was ideally situated, and was rife with enthusiastic motorcyclists. It wasn’t long before I had introduced myself to most of the more interesting bikers on the estate, and was soon learning and helping out with minor repairs.

One of my two favourites was a guy who owned a Vincent Black Shadow and a second who owned a Velocette Venom. Both took a shine to the young would be motorcyclist and were very encouraging. To the point where they’d allow me to help out with simple tasks on their bikes.

My hard work and enthusiasm soon paid dividends with the Venom owner [ Arthur ] giving me an old MAC Velo as a present for my 13th. Birthday – on the understanding it was completely stripped and rebuilt into “something useful”, Eventually with the help of a girlfriend’s enthusiastic Father – it became a Sprinter [ Drag bike ], more of that later.

Bill [ the Vinnie owner ] not to be outdone [ both WERE married BTW ] donated a James Captain – again on the understanding that it was stripped and rebuilt. That in fact was done very rapidly as the decision was made to make it into a Trials bike, which mainly meant taking things off rather than buying new bits.

In fact all the parts came from the bikers on the estate, once the word got around what was happening. One guy [ Matchless 500 Trials thumper ] donated a pair of knobbly tires with good tread, whilst another donated a Trials seat from a Greeves. Yet another worked at a Villiers engine specialist in Birmingham and donated a ported barrel, carb and a special prototype exhaust system – that was being thrown out! Alloy mudguards came from another source, and even an old battered [ but leak free ] Greeves alloy tank made an appearance.

The only item that was actually bought, was a bulb horn [ as in parp, parp ]. So it wasn’t long before the bike was being ridden around the woods and trails that surrounded the estate.

In the meantime the MAC was seen as a much longer term project – apart from anything else it WOULD require some money being spent ! That prompted a change of “employment” from that of a paper delivery boy. One shilling and sixpence [ 1/6d ] a week for 7 days [ 13 deliveries – no evening Sunday paper ] to that of a Saturday morning helper at the local DIY / General store. That grossed two shillings and sixpence [ 2/6d or “half a dollar” ] for a Saturday morning only. Tips would regularly far exceed that as the young Beachcomber loaded cars, carried wood and heating paraffin oil and generally learned the art of “customer satisfaction = rewards. Sixpence or a shilling were the normal tips – so Ten Shillings total for a Saturday morning was not out of the way. To give a yardstick – petrol was one shilling and sixpence a gallon.

The MAC was duly pulled apart, with guidance from Arthur [ and use of tools ] while a plan was being drawn up for the rebuild. During this period both Arthur and Bill regularly took me pillion to various bike events – Trials, Scrambles, Road Racing … and to a Sprint and a Hill Climb. Both of those latter events made a deep impression and it was jointly decided that the MAC should become a Sprinter / Hill Climber. In those days bikes were not so specialised and you would quite often see a Circuit bike doubling up [ trebling up ? ] as a Hill Climber and a Sprinter. One that springs to mind was the famous Vincent exponent George Brown with his “Gunga Din” and later Nero bikes.

This was the period when I learned the value of the “barter” system, having not much in the way of material possessions to barter – “labour for parts” became the order of the day. ;) A large garden shed was painted in exchange for a new 10:1 piston / rings for the MAC. A front path was laid – the swag ? A new front tyre and an Amal GP [ !! ] carb. A summer of mowing Bills lawns brought forth a suitable rear tyre, rebore and a competition Magneto.

It was Arthur who introduced me to the art of porting and general Blueprinting, his no nonsense approach of “do it right or not at all” again paid dividends.

Arthur was well known in competition circles and was always busy with 3 or 4 engines for tuning / rebuilding at any time. Eventually, that’s where most of my spare time was spent learning from a master craftsman. Although he was a Velo man, most of his engine work was with Triumphs and BSA - suited me.

By the time of my 15th Birthday I was riding the James around everywhere – even on public roads. YES, irresponsible, illegal, etc., etc………but GREAT fun while all the other teenagers were riding push bikes or catching buses.

And this was about the time that the opposite sex [ emphasis on the “sex” ] was discovered and resulted in a steady girlfriend whose Father was instrumental in setting the career path for our boy.

He also had a great interest in bikes, but also refused to let his Daughter ride pillion on my bikes. Nothing to do with me being underage and having no licence [ he thought I WAS 16 and had a licence ! ], it transpired that he had a big bike accident with his Wife when they were courting, and she was badly injured. That didn’t stop him from helping with the MAC with many parts made at his firm [ Spray Equipment manufacturers ].

The only caveat was that I had to draw up any parts I wanted made. This was facilitated by allowing me to work in his drawing office during school holidays and breaks. It was during this period that he suggested an academic education where I had secured a place at one of the country’s top Grammar Schools -  King Edward 6th. Lichfield, was NOT where I should be headed. I became a proficient draughtsman and was even allowed to move from tracings to actual original drawings.

He suggested a change to a Mechanical Engineering degree, which after many arguements with my Father [ more of THAT later ] we all agreed I should undertake AFTER talking my “O” and “A” level exams – boring stuff like History, Geography, English Literature and Language, Art, Maths and Technical Drawing  and French [ well at least the last two were useful ].

During one of the school holidays, the drawing office was closed for the 2 weeks general holiday shut down – so I moved into the spray shop where all the new equipment and prototypes were tested. The foreman was a gnarly old ex. Sergeant Major [ Gunnery Sergeant ? ] who detested my lack of proper respect for rules – but approved of my respect for my elders and betters. We got on reasonably well, and I learned yet  another trade from a true professional. This paid dividends when it came time for the MAC frame and parts to be painted ! For the next  year my spare Saturdays were spent in the spray shop learning the trade.

Finally the time was approaching for my ACTUAL driving test. At that time you had to be 16, although you could ride a machine of ANY capacity while still a learner. So, Christmas 1959 I was given the money to pay for my driving test. I decided that there was no point in delaying the test, so I applied for a date of the 1st. March 1960 – my birthday, when I would of course be 16 !

I duly filled the form in “age at time of application” as 15 years and 9 months – they sent it back with a note “how old will you be on your next birthday “  ::)…………. Dohhhhhhhhhhh. Anyway – the application date was approved for the 1st. March. I had a choice of Father’s Sprung hub T’Bird or my trusty James Captain Trials bike. On the day the T’Bird was palying up, so I opted for the James.

In those days the test examiner walked around the course you were to take [ usually one or two interlinking blocks ] whilst asking you to stop and perform various tasks.  On one he literally jumped out in front of you and you hopefully stopped ! The other was a slow speed test, where you had to exhibit control at “the slowest possible pace you can go”. He started off walking slowly in front saying “come on then” – the reply being “I’ve already started”. He turned round to see me perfectly balanced, feet on the pegs with the engine running !! Not impressed / impressed, don’t know – but he passed me anyway.

This really opened the floodgates of biking heaven and I was soon going to races and Hill Climbs under my own steam. I was also gathering a large number of biking pals – mostly older than myself who had been riding for much longer – another useful life experience. I was also getting quite a reputation as an engine builder, specialising in BSA singles and Triumph twins. I’d really learned well under Arthur’s tutilage. Building various engines now was my main means of income whilst I was finishing off at Grammar School and prior to taking up my Engineering Courses.

As I was getting a reasonable amount of funds on a regular basis, I had a deal with my Father that we should buy a “decent” bike between us. He would use it to commute to work, and I would use it evenings and weekends. The bike chosen after a LOT of arguing was a 1959 250 AJS – a plodding commuter with no particular style or grace.

Yes, should have known THAT was never going to work ! Mother and Father went off on 2 week’s vacation, during which time I decided to junk the ex.Police top fairing and turn the Ajay into a Café Racer ! Clip ons, rear sets, alloy guards, etc.,etc. ……. Father was not best pleased on his return from holiday. That led to a HUGE argument resulting in Father giving me a right hander – to which I duly responded ……………… time to move out. ::)

No problem – I’ll move in with my girlfriend ……… hmmmm probably 20 years or so too early for THAT to fly. After two nights spent sleeping in the local woods – after being thrown of friend’s houses in the wee hours I really needed to find somewhere with a roof over my head.

That in turn meant a regular income, so I abandoned the full time Engineering course, got a job in a drawing office [ courtesy of SUPERB referrences from the girlfriend’s Father ] and started looking for some suitable accomodation. One of the locals who earned a living from poaching Pheasant and Trout took pity on me whilst under the influence of the 5 pints of beer I’d bought him and offered me bed in his caravan. Ever woken up in the early hours to witness several dozen hanging Pheasants ? Me, I’m a city boy !!! That was never going to work out either.

A friend put me in touch with an Aunt of his who was recently widowed, well travelled, filthy rich and even though she MUST have been at least THIRTY FIVE [ maybe even FORTY  :o] … exceedingly fit. Imagine a young Sophia Loren …………………….

She had a beautiful cottage a mere 5 miles from where I had secured the Draughtsman job [ remember the Triumph powered Go Kart tale ?? ]. I later learned that she also had a house in the Country AND a Villa in Italy ! Her husband had been the British Consul in Milan for a number of years and had come from a wealthy family inheriting money and property. This WAS how the other half lived.

Anyway I called round to see her to discuss my moving in and terms, and she immediately “took” to me – admiring my [ then ] fiery Red hair, and commenting “how fit you look my dear”. I guess it doesn’t take a genius to see where this was going – and it did ……… ;)

I think [ memory fade ] my salary as a Junior Draughtsman was something like £8.00 per week [ for perspective  ] and she said she would have to charge me “at least £1.10 shillings” [or around 1/8th of my salary – ie a joke ] for my rent – but that would include breakfast, evening meal and laundry  ;D!

After a week of being spoiled rotten, she asked if I would like “breakfast in bed” as a treat for my first Saturday staying with her [ no weekend work ]. I still have that vision of her [ Mrs. Robinson? ] coming through my door with a breakfast tray and not a lot else ;D. That period was the next in the real life experiences for the young [ but fit ] Beachcomber – now with a regular girlfriend and a live in expert in all aspects of horizontal pleasures - and some vertical, upside down …….. in fact she took to leaving  a copy of the Kama Sutra open at the relevant page on the coffee table in preparation for the evenings entertainment. 8)

This relationship also did wonders for my motorcycling [ and bank balance ] as I was indulged with various purchases and gifts – a Triumph Trophy and a BSA Road Rocket being the most notable.

Yep, that was never going to work long term either ………………………… 8)

It wasn’t long before my regular girlfriend sussed something was up [ or actually “not up” ! ] as the demands of Gertrude [ I shit you not – Gertrude, or “Get ‘em off Gertie” to use the vulgar ] were getting ever more frequent and bizarre - bizarre wasn’t so bad though, thinking about it. :)

Both work and study [ I was now doing a part work / part study course ] were suffering, not to mention pure exhaustion and deficiency of vitimin C from a lack of seeing daylight …………..that led me at the tender age of 18 to pack up and move back to the place of my birth in Dagenham ………where the tales REALLY began. 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Aug 08, 2013, 22:26:51
To this day I maintain that my biggest error has been that I never found a wealthy older woman. This isn't helping.

Great yarn as always.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Aug 08, 2013, 23:26:34
Even the ones who are not wealthy, have their advantages to a young lad. ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Aug 08, 2013, 23:52:50
True, true. I shall count my blessings instead. :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 13, 2013, 06:28:44
As a footnote to the Gertrude episode - I was given a solid Gold Parker pen [ which I still have ] and the money to buy an Inter Norton [ s/h ] as a "leaving" present   8) when I went back to live in Dagenham.

During the next 3 years I kept in touch with her, and visited on several occassions when I went back to see my Mother and Father [ after we made up our differences -'ish ].

I called without notice one time as I was passing through the Midlands - to find she had a new young "lodger" ;) renting my old room.

She did suggest that I stayed the night, but the thoughts of what she had in mind were just a little too bizarre ! ::)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Davetabacco on Aug 20, 2013, 14:09:45
I finaly managed to read though all this thread,taking gap at work,just before I sleep,ect ect....
Great story telling and I humbly give my respect to my elders and betters for all the shit they lived through.
Makes me remember all the crap I stirred as a youngster.

Perhapes grouping those tales togather not long enough as a full tale?Short little storys telling us of the day?
Got a couple myself but my story telling not nearly as good.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Aug 20, 2013, 19:11:05
 

Valle de la Pascua in the dry season of 1969 was hot and dusty. It was isolated -- remote from anything and everything that had been comfortable or familiar to me. At least Caracas had resembled a modern metropolis with restaurants and theaters and modern shopping plazas. But a sweaty five-hour drive southward in a ramshackle old car with five strangers plus a driver that thought little of his own life, let alone those of  his passengers,  and I found myself transported to a new reality: Valle de la Pascua, deep in the llanos region of central Venezuela.

It was the beginning of a two-year Peace Corps assignment – long before all the anti-American petro politics of today. At the time, Peace Corps management had decided to move away from team deployments. They wanted us to get to know the locals and meld with regional cultures. The old team approach had apparently resulted in volunteers keeping to themselves; not integrating with the communities they were sent to serve. So they broke up the “cliques” and sent us each to our own isolated territories…sort of a ‘sink-or-swim’ approach. 

Isolated is exactly what I felt. Nominal language skills in the beginning along with the novelty of being among but a handful of North Americans that had ever passed through -- let alone taken up residence in Valle de la Pascua -- made me stick out like a totem in Timbuktu.

After finding a temporary place to hang my hammock and stash a back pack, I presented myself to the regional school superintendent, a man of ample proportions but minimal social grace. He grunted towards a map on the wall where pins denoted the locations of various one-room country schoolhouses under his jurisdiction. The map presented Valle de la Pascua as if it were the center of the universe with a network of rural schools located on dirt roads and paths spiraling out some distance from town. My assignment was to travel to these schools like a circuit preacher, and teach the kids modern horticulture techniques and physical education (baseball, volleyball, etc.)

It didn’t take me long to realize that I was going to need a dirt bike to get back and forth. Hitching rides on cattle trucks was hit or miss, and trudging down remote paths carrying an olive green war surplus duffle bag had resulted in my being stopped and frisked at gun point on more than one occasion by over zealous military patrols. So I contacted my handler at the American Embassy in Caracas and told him I needed a motorcycle in order to carry out my duties. He took it under advisement and eventually agreed to fund half the cost. I hopped the next bus to Caracas to claim my prize.

In 1970, a Yamaha 250 Enduro was considered a “big” bike in Venezuela, and only a few dealerships in Caracas had them. Mopeds and scooters were the norm. As it happened, another volunteer also needed transportation, so we pooled our buying power to negotiate a deal for two of them.

If I had felt conspicuous by virtue of being the only American in Valle de la Pascua, the addition of the bright gold Yamaha 250 must have made the spectacle I presented even more mesmerizing. Ragged street urchins abandoned their shoe-shine boxes to crowd around whenever I pulled up and dismounted. It started all over again when I rolled it out in the mornings from behind it’s locked resting place. And whenever I arrived at one of my schools, the tin roofed open-wall building would erupt with laughing screaming children scrambling to feast their eyes on the “motocicleta grande”. They made me feel like a rock star.

In the end, that Yamaha 250 opened doors that I might never have opened on my own. I made friends with townspeople who imagined that the owner of such a beautiful and powerful bike must be someone worth knowing. The senoritas too became more generous with their glances and coy smiles. I presaged the Dos Equis Man.

To this day, memories of my youthful adventures in Latin America are largely characterized by the feeling I got from riding that quick and nimble 250…down dusty roads…through dry creek beds…past hectare after hectare of dry grass land, mud huts, emaciated-looking cattle, and past the smiling waving llaneros that tended to them. Things are different now in Venezuela. I feel fortunate to have had a glimpse of the “before” and to have seen it from astride a legendary machine.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 21, 2013, 04:59:23
I finaly managed to read though all this thread,taking gap at work,just before I sleep,ect ect....
Great story telling and I humbly give my respect to my elders and betters for all the shit they lived through.
Makes me remember all the crap I stirred as a youngster.

Perhapes grouping those tales togather not long enough as a full tale?Short little storys telling us of the day?
Got a couple myself but my story telling not nearly as good.

Let's hear them DaveT ............. it's the experiences that are important to pass on.

Yes, there's loads of little anectodes - like the Guy falling off his bike when stationary without a helmet. I'll see how they could be put together in batches of maybe 4-5 at a time.

Vibration - that sure conjures up some visions.

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 04, 2013, 18:23:57
Hmmmmm ...............the recent post by 77Suzuki has given me an idea for the next Tale.

I left the last Tale with the beginnings of the Cafe Racer life and times of one Beachcomber. That took us up to the early / mid Sixties and coincided with a move from the Midlands region back to my Birth town of Dagenham to take up the next phase of the Tales.

Most of the major "Tales from the Day" have already been penned, but 77Suzuki's posted question made me think about the wider Cafe Racer history, rather than just a personal one.

So this tale will be more of a generalisation of what it was like in real terms [ no Rose tinted goggles, honest Teazer ] with maybe a few of those as yet untold anectdotal "Mini-Tales" thrown in to make it more "human". There are still a few Tales to be told, and as I said before - for every Bike Tale - there's 2 auto related Tales !

As I'm still housebound "dog sitting" I'll give it some serious thought in the next several weeks - might even help me to finalise the layout of the fabled "book".

As ever, this will not be heresay - but my personal experiences and observations, and I promise to hang those Rose Tinted Goggles next to the ex RAF silk scarf [ White of course ].
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 18, 2013, 14:23:46
Hmmmmm ...............the recent post by 77Suzuki has given me an idea for the next Tale.

I left the last Tale with the beginnings of the Cafe Racer life and times of one Beachcomber. That took us up to the early / mid Sixties and coincided with a move from the Midlands region back to my Birth town of Dagenham to take up the next phase of the Tales.

Most of the major "Tales from the Day" have already been penned, but 77Suzuki's posted question made me think about the wider Cafe Racer history, rather than just a personal one.

So this tale will be more of a generalisation of what it was like in real terms [ no Rose tinted goggles, honest Teazer ] with maybe a few of those as yet untold anectdotal "Mini-Tales" thrown in to make it more "human". There are still a few Tales to be told, and as I said before - for every Bike Tale - there's 2 auto related Tales !

As I'm still housebound "dog sitting" I'll give it some serious thought in the next several weeks - might even help me to finalise the layout of the fabled "book".

As ever, this will not be heresay - but my personal experiences and observations, and I promise to hang those Rose Tinted Goggles next to the ex RAF silk scarf [ White of course ].

Tale is coming along nicely ......... more historical than anything else - but there will still be personal anectdotes.

Let's face it - if you're under 60 - you weren't there ! [ Mark Wilsmore - you listening ? ] - and you'd have to be approaching your three score and ten to have been riding from the dawn of the Sixties.

Might even be broken down into the various ages - '70's, 80's etc. Anything beyond that and you young whippersnappers were there anyway !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 21, 2013, 08:12:08
Well here it is then.................. my random recollections of the life of a Cafe Racer in the mid to late Sixties.

I've mentioned relative "Tales" here and there, rather than repeat myself.

During the 70's I was more involved with cars [ designing and racing ] and I'd also moved into working for myself. Bikes were still there, but more of a background role. Also, the Cafe Racer movement had all but fizzled out from mainstream biking as even Japanese some 250 /350s could now crack the ton !

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day ………

“ Part 1 - How it was –  the Sixties”   Sept 2013 TJ

This Tale is more a chronicle of what day to day life was like for a budding Café Racer in the early years of the ‘60‘s in England – a few related anectodal Tales might find their way in though ! ;)

The last Tale portrayed my early recollections up to the point where I’d left Grammar School, got a job as a Trainee Draughtsman and was busy with my new career direction in engineering, which involved two days at an Engineering College and 3 at “work”.

It was called “Day Release” or “Sandwhich Course”, and most large companies had such a scheme – apprenticeships for those who wanted a career on the shop floor and an Engineering Degree for those [ like myself ] who wanted to eventually end up in design.

So at the tender age of 18 – already having a good start on the “Worldly Wise” score, I decided to move back from the Midlands to the town of my birth – Dagenham.

Father - with a Wife and young child directly after the war, had to take work where he could, and that often meant moving round the country – and sometimes abroad for extended contracts. So as not to disrupt my education too much, I lived with my Grandparents in Dagenham until the age of 10. So it was a no brainer that I would go back to stay at my Grandparents house to get myself “sorted” when I decided to leave the Midlands.

The journey down to Dagenham WAS a bit of an adventure in itself. There were virtually no main highways, and of course NO mobile [ cell ] phones or other means of instant communications we take for granted these days in the event of a breakdown or other problem. Fortunately there was also a lack of Supermarkets [ still 10 years away ! ], which meant that village shops and petrol stations were quite plentiful along the route. As an “AA” [ Automobile Association – breakdown service ] member I DID have the member’s key to the various AA and RAC boxes which dotted the countryside. Inside you would find odd tools, medical requirements, a phone [ !! ] and more usefully a couple of gallon cans of petrol !!! The idea of course was that these were meant for that odd emergency when you ran out [ expecially at night ] and could at least get a gallon or two to take you to a petrol station. The plan was you filled up your car / bike [ cars mainly ] – drove to the nearest indicated petrol station and filled both your car / bike and the can – leaving the can with the attendant to be collected by the AA man ……………….yea right. ::)

The journey went entirely without a hitch, I even met up with a guy on a 650cc CSR Ajay, and after a few miles of burn ups we both stopped at a café for petrol and a coffee before undertaking the next 100 miles or so in each other’s company [ strength in numbers ! ]. The journey was only around 130 miles, but in those days most riding was done within a 50 mile radius of home. There were of course the diehards who travelled all over – even Europe, but they were in the minority. At odd points on the journey we were joined by variously - a Super Rocket, Vincent Comet [ an “Arthur” – Arfer Vincent ], A Douglas Dragonfly and a Café Racered BSA B33.   

I was fortunate that I parted on good terms with my long time girlfriend [ she NEVER found out about Gertie !  8)], and her Father arranged for all my Motorcycles and tools, spares etc. to be sent down to Dagenham on one of his works trucks when they were next making a delivery in the London area. So I pretty well hit the ground running – I had my bike and all my spares AND was paying virtually no rent or keep [ spoiled / only Grandchild ! ].

After a couple of weeks I had caught up with some of my old school pals and several of them were also into bikes. One [ Maurice – he of the BSA outfit  " Dangerous Roy, the sidecar and the cemetary"] had become an apprentice at the Ford Motor Company. This was a huge plant on the River Thames estuary and was probably responsible for half the employment in Dagenham and surrounds. Dagenham was a sleepy little country village before the fist World War, but gradually evolved to become a huge experiment in urban expansion [ or overflow ] from the devastation of London [ mainly after the second go at destroying ourselves ]. So rural was it that it was still then part of Essex, in fact Essex still stretched well towards the East End [ Ilford, Gants Hill .................... ].

Maurice had quite usefully become a machine shop apprentice, which meant a ready source of bits of metal, nuts / bolts / rivets and other essentials for the budding Café Racer. It was through Maurice that I became involved in Ford’s own Motorcycle Club – where the sad annectode about the perils of not wearing a helmet took place [ RIP Don ]. This was a fast track into the local bike scene, as many of the younger club members were regulars at the “Lay-Bye” [ the scene of many of the Tales including “The Missing Motorcyclist # 1 “. ]

By this time [ 1963 ] the Café Racer movement was well into it’s heyday, with probably 50% of the bikes up the Lay Bye already Café Racered and another 25% + well on the way. We still had our poseurs – with some rich [ relatively ] kid turning up on a brand new Bonnie or whatever. Whenever a new kid turned up with such a rig, it wouldn’t be long before they got a challenge from one of the homebrewed Café Racers, the prize being the loser bought Hot Dogs and Coffee / Tea. I NEVER saw one of these races where the local kids lost out ! Occassionally there would be a real grudge race for cash – usually £1, that probably represented a tenth of someone’s weekly wage.

In the main the real Café Racer bikes were very well built and presented and represented hours of detailing to get the last ounce of speed. Some of us [ myself included ] got a reputation as engine builders / tuners and this was a regular and excellent source of extra revenue. Others [ like Maurice ] could produce engine plates, rear sets, and the odd pieces that you couldn’t easilly buy over the shelf. Still others made a few quid doing paint jobs, whilst at least 2 of the other guys worked at the local Chrome Platers !! Remember, this was before you could buy the relevant parts from a single retail source. – people like Dave Degens, Paul Dunstall and others were still a year or two away at this time.

That said, I do remember buying Clip-Ons for my 250 AJS in 1960 from Vale Onslows in Birmingham. Len Vale Onslow was a true legend in the bike World – Trials [?] was his main passion. He was still riding at the age of 100 !!!!!!!!! There’s a benchmark for us all. The shop is still there and it’s like going into a time warp back to the 60’s when you walk through the door. 8)

Anyway – back to Dagenham, or more precisely, Brands Hatch. Brands was just over the river [ Thames ] from Dagenham, although initially before the new tunnels were built, you had to take a 15 mile detour up river to find a crossing. Never the less it was our “Local”, and as club members you could take advantage of the clubhouse facilities – where you could meet the riders of the day. Especially great when there was an International event and the Continental Sidecar Circus was in town.
 
On a Wednesday you could take to the circuit for “testing”. Split mornings [ bikes ] and afternoons for cars. The cost was minimal – 5 shillings for bikes and 10 shillings for cars [ from memory ]. 20 shillings to the pound and the average wage for kids £10. Like a modern day Track Day, but without the Health and Safety aspect !

A lot of the Café Racer accessories [ tanks, alloy wheels, tyres, clip-ons, etc ] could be bought at the track paddock – even complete bikes ! Even though it was supposed to be a test day – grudge races soon evolved, and that’s where I got a taste for circuit racing and decided to give it a go [ Gold Star, Tribsas ]. I was never going to worry the top half of the field and soon realised my limitations and took first to sidecars and then Sprinting. Cost was the main factor for kicking circuit racing into touch [ plus my inability to finish higher than 8th ! ] – Sprinting was altogether a much cheaper hobby to follow as most of the gains would come from engine tuning / blueprinting.

During this period there was a trend for “working class” guys to move away from Sidecar Outfits as the normal family transport – to the new breed of cheap small cars available, and the dreaded “drip” – credit payments. Additionally solo bikes were being discarded as daily transport so there was an absolute glut of bikes to use as donors. That’s where the first Tritons and Tribsas came from.

There were hundreds of post war Triumphs – excellent twin engines in Plunger or Sprung hub frames – not so good. On the other hand there were also hundreds of BSA B31 / B33s – kissing cousins to the Goldie [ frames almost identical ] with plodding old cast iron singles and the early range of asthmatic single cylinder 350cc / 500cc Nortons [ ES2 / Model 50 ].

Both [ and especially the Norton ] had an excellent reputation for handling and could be bought for peanuts [ especially the Beezers ]. ALL the parts for a Café Racer conversion were readilly available, so the conversions were a no brainer.

My Grandfather was a regular at the Dagenham old village pub – “The Railway” and was well known locally. When the regular drinkers got to hear about my hobby – I was soon offered all sorts of bikes – usually free, or for the cost of a pint or two! Most were simply sold on, but some were well worth keeping – or at least Café Racering [ new word ]. The biggest prize being 500 AJS Trials bike – all up and running and donated after the son of the family was killed in a road accident [ car ].

Maurice spent quite a big part of his daily job producing alloy engine plates for Tritons and Tribsas !! Thanx Mr. Ford.  ;)  As Maurice’s best friend [ and with more of a head for business ] I took to carrying 2 or 3 sets of each along to the Lay-Bye and our local Caffs. It wasn’t long before our reputation spread and we were getting lads from the whole locality in for plates ! In fact Ted [ Ted’s caff – Gallows Hill ] – he of the G45 Tale  “The Missing Motorcyclist 2 – and the G45 at Ted’s” – agreed to keep a couple of sets of each and even put up a little ad. in the Caff – my first entrepruneral enterprise ! Our cost was absolutely NIL and we split the proceeds 50-50 – twenty five shillings I seem to remember [ just over a pound ]. Ted benefitted from the additional custom generated by those calling in to buy merchandise. It soon expanded beyond that, as we moved into the Chrome plating service [ courtesy of our mates up the Lay-Bye ] Ted then took to being a drop off / collection point for parts to be plated. We did cut him in on the profits though !

Around this time I found I was earning as much building engines and then building complete bikes as I was doing my “day job” – some months, considerably more. As I spent my mornings at work out and about in the Electricity Board’s van – AND had sussed out getting accurate plans from the work gangs [ see Tale ] which meant that at least 3 hours every day was spent on “Beachcomber Business” collecting parts and delivering bikes – life was good. See “The Electricity Board, the Motorcycle Express Delivery Service and Gerry Lucas [ RIP ]”  Plenty of work [ for those that wanted it ], plenty of bikes to play with, petrol was relatively cheap and I had missed out on the compulsory 2 year Military Conscription ! Even the Summers were always sunny [ ooops sorry Teazer, Rose tinted googles back in the drawer ]. Well – they SEEMED to be sunny.

Myths and Urban Legends …………………………

Record Racing [ Juke Box racing ] ……..

Absolute bollox, dreamed up by the media [ newspapers ] and BELIEVED by a handful of bikers who should have known better – many of whom ended up injured or worse by trying it out. The average juke box record was LESS THAN TWO MINUTES.  Like I said – Bollox.

Mods vs Rockers Wars ………………….

Another media fueled farce. Most of us on two [ and 3 ] wheels rubbed along well enough together, until the media started printing stories of gang rivalries – which led in some cases to real violence. Of course there WERE confrontations – a couple at seaside resorts, but ALL were pre-empted by news stories the preceeding week leaking the fact that there WERE going to be violent confrontations between Mods and Rockers [ ?? ]

I had many friends who were Mods – Dangerous Roy for one. Rockers – were by definition, into Rock and Roll and WERE basically Teddy Boys on bikes [ rather than cars ]. The exotic Quiffs and hairdos were soon fucked up by the fitting of helmets – which then, most chose not to wear. Most Rockers of the day still wore Drape jackets and Brothel Creeper shoes and drove Ford Zodiacs or Vauxhall Crestas.

We NEVER considered ourselves “Rockers” and after the [ again Media ] jibes of “Coffee Bar Cowboys”, “Ton-Up Boys”, etc. failed to take root – Café Racers became the acceptable term - by us .

The headless Motorcyclist ………………

EVERYONE knew of a story of a motorcyclist that had been decapitated ……….. the only one I KNEW to be truthful was on our local highway [ I was 9 ] when a sidecarist rode into the back of a lorry carrying sheet steel – that DID do the job.

The Ton –Up ……………………

Sad to relate that 90% of the bikes in the day were not capable of getting remotely near the magic Ton. There were of course folks who claimed the Ton - usually up the Lay-Bye – where they would immediately challenged by one of us who DID have a true Ton bike to prove [ or otherwise ] their claim. These people were told they had a “High Compression Speedo” fitted, and usually never saw them again. There were a handful of factory bikes that could achieve that elusive speed – Tiger 110 [ the “Ton-Ten” ], Bonneville [ 120 ], Gold Star, Rockets and various 650 AJS / Matchless and of course one of my favourites – the Constellation. Seems like a lot n’est-ce pas ? Well, most bikes had to be in absolute top fettle to get there – and most standard bikes were not !!  ::)

I came up with the idea of having a small alloy plaque engraved with “Ton Up Club”  [ Maurice again ] and these were presented to those that achieved the magic mark. Not a “club” as such, but a badge of honour. These were attached to the rear number plates, and the new owner had to prove he could do the Ton on his “new” bike or it had to be removed. Jeez, wonder if any of those still exist?

Later, when the Ton became an everyday occurrence to some of us – the next goal was the “Two up”, no, NOT 200mph – but achieving the Ton with a passenger. Then of course there was the same challenge for sidecars !! There were only two of us up the Lay-Bye that achieved that – my pal John Barker [ Super Rocket / Steib ] and myself with my ex. Bob Mac Constellation attached to a Garrard Grand Prix chair. My race track refugee Triumph Kneeler and sitters were declared “ineligible” !!

There you go, don’t believe everything you read in the comics [ or see on TV shows ] that happened 50+ years ago and reported by those who weren’t there, and probably not even born

And so the 60’s ended, and with it the first wave of the Post War Café Racer movement. Japanese bikes came on the scene at the end of the 60’s and were comprehensively superior to any of the British [ and most European ] bikes. Initially they were slagged off by us 50’s / 60’s Café Racers – mainly through ignorance and envy.

The same can be said of the British Motorcycle industry who continued to self destruct whilst wallowing in past glories. Yes, the early Japanese bikes suffered with poor adhesion on the Japanese made tyres [ easilly fixed with a set of TT100s ] and yes, the handling seemed a bit suspect in the early days – but MOST of the Japanese engines were putting out almost twice as much power ! Early disc brakes were also suspect –especially in the rain [ the “chrome” non-rust variety ! ] – but were still vastly superior to any stock British front brake. Virtually all [ big ] Japanese bikes came with an electric leg and other sophistications. Italian and [ particularly ] German bikes resisted the flood – but were seriously expensive compared to the Japanese offerings.

So, the Sixties ended with British bikes being consigned to the scrappers and probably 80% of the riders opting for the cheap 4 wheeled transport that was now available. Most were now in their early / mid 20s and settling down to life – married, mortgage, 2.5 kids and a dog.

The next Café Racer age was definitely Japanese dominated – and that led to many of us 60’s lads to have our first “born again” biker phase ………………….. the “Japanese Seventies” Café Racers. ……………………………………. 
Title: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Sep 22, 2013, 09:37:58


There you go, don’t believe everything you read in the comics [ or see on TV shows ] that happened 50+ years ago and reported by those who weren’t there, and probably not even born
…………………………………….

Well, I'll take your word for it. Thanks as always TJ.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 22, 2013, 11:39:35
Well, I'll take your word for it. Thanks as always TJ.

Ha ......I sometime have a problem wondering what it is I was about to do before I forgot................but my recollections of 50 -60 years ago are crystal clear.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 25, 2013, 11:33:57
Still [plenty of down time due to dog sitting duties, but on the plus side I've been able to concentrate on getting odds and sods needed to finish off the various bike projects [ eventually ] - good old E-Bay.

Also plenty of time for thinking [ there's only SO much NCIS I can watch in any given day !  8) ] - and that has given me time to ponder the '70's.

Although I wasn't so active socially [ bike-wise ] as the Cafe Racer scene was by now a very much minority activity.

The Japanese bike onslaught spawned a whole new breed of machine - and rider.

Never the less an interesting era in it's own right, and one I again had first hand knowledge of - so there WILL be a part 3 before Christmas.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 08, 2013, 07:52:36
Caught up with an old pal of mine who worked for me in the 70's and 80's - we had a good old rabbit at the weekend about "the good old days".

He refreshed many memories for me regarding the 70's era, as being some 15 years younger than me, he missed the 60's completely - but was very active in the 70's and early 80's.

One point totally escaped my failing memory banks - the fact that we bought an NSU [ TTS ] car engined sidecar outfit, literally as I was about to take the great big fuck off steps over the horizon from MrsB the First! :) The plan was for us to enter some Club races with it to see if I could get my National licence back.

Would have worked a treat as he loved being the Monkey, whilst I did the driving. Ah well - what might have been. We completely lost touch after I came back from my 12 month trip bumming around France with Mrs.B 2nd, and eventually he sold the outfit on without ever racing with it.

That has bolstered the meat for the 70's Tale and I'm happy that there will be some useful historic info to impart - this side of Christmas............... probably. 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 22, 2013, 05:18:34
Tale for the 70's almost completed now - just sorting out some generic [ and personal ] pix to go with it.

End of the month latest .........................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 28, 2013, 09:12:33
Here it is, likely to be the last for a while or so - my recollections of Biking in the 70's ...................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day. November 2013 November 2013

“ Into the Seventies – The Japanese are Coming [ OK, already here ]”

This will be the last of the documentary tales, as by the 80’s [ and yet another genre of bike ] a fair number of you will have been around anyway, or at least remember the antics of your own Dads and his mates.

By the end of the Sixties the initial Café Racer wave was well on the wane – most of the riders of the 60’s had settled down, got regular jobs, married, mortgages etc ……………… in other words, joined “normal“ society.

The main nail in the Café Racer coffin was the emergence of extremely rapid JAPANESE factory bikes that would do the Ton straight out of the showroom. The writing was on the wall at the end of the 60’s, with a lot of the Japanese 250s and 350s able to keep up, and even trounce Brit 500s and some 650s ! Sure they gained a reputation for poor handling initially, but taken in context, they were doing everything SO MUCH FASTER !

Although the Japanese bikes were expensive, the need - or even urge to play around with British bikes was definitely passing. Initially the Japanese offerings were dismissed by staunch Café Racers as having “no character” – but neither did they puke oil everywhere or break down with monotonous regularity. It wasn’t long before even the most blinkered and biased Brit bike fan HAD to admit that the Japanese bikes were just superior. The British bike industry made a few lame and far too late efforts to play catchup, but it was far too little too late- with the inevitable results.

As the second hand market opened up, Japanese bikes became more affordable to the point where jaded 60’s Cafe Racers begrudgingly looked upon them as a new source of donor material for Café Racers. These same 60’s bikers were also just about on their first “born again biker” phase – life had become a little too normal, and the urge to “play” was now both desirable and affordable. Strange that in the 2000s these bikes are now seen as Classic Café Racer fodder !!!

Additionally, the cheap car market was now well upon us – with cars like the Mini, Anglia, Moggy Minor etc. falling into the price range of those that would previously have had a bike or sidecar outfit. Credit [ the “ Drip “ ] was also readily available and most secondhand car dealers would take a bike in part ex. to cover the deposit on a car. MOST of these older bikes went straight to the crushers ……………………. Petrol was also relatively inexpensive, and most of the smaller cars had the same sort of mpg figures as the bigger bikes.

Several other changes started to take place by the end of the 60’s – various specialist manufacturers / suppliers had started to appear on the Café Racer market – people like Dresda [ Dave Degens ], Dunstall [ Paul Dunstall ], Unity Equipe, Rickman [ brothers Derek and Don ], Read Titan, Seeley [ Colin Seeley ]. Most of these suppliers would sell you a kit of parts to convert your Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki or Yamaha into “something different”. This lead to the first bout of “Yea, let’s all be different together”, and were in the main dismissed by the true Café Racer as being just that – a kit of bolt on parts. That is of course pure bollox, as most Café Racers of the 60’s were built with bolt on parts – the main difference was that the parts came from several suppliers, or your mates !! Here I would make the distinction between Café Racers and “Specials” – that were true one-offs, or at least only built in one’s and two’s. Things like NSU car engined Featherbed specials, Hillman Imp an VW Beetle engined specials and so on.

These cottage industry suppliers grew to prominence in the 70’s with Rickman probably being the most successful – supplying rolling chassis kits for both circuit and off road racing. I was VERY tempted by a 750cc Enfield powered Rickman Metisse – until I pulled up at the dealers and saw THREE identical bikes on the forecourt. After a brief flirtation with a Manx Goldie, and several odds and sods that passed through my hands – I eventually bought my one and only ever new bike – a Honda 400 Four [ 1976 ]. Never missed a beat and was as quick and almost as fast as the Manx Goldstar I had just recently sold. Difference was it started first time every time at the touch of a button and required virtually no maintainance, didn’t leak oil [ OK, neither did my Goldie ] and handled / stopped better than most bikes I’d ever owned – I had sold out !  Curiously, the bike came from the dealers with UK Dunlops ?

The 70’s also heralded the universal rise in popularity of the 2 stroke as a serious Café Racer / Performance option. In the early 60’s you rarely saw a 2 stroke based Café Racer – mainly due to the small engine capacity [ relative ] and the fact that NO self respecting Café Racer wanted to be followed down the road by a noxious cloud of 2 stroke exhaust smoke [ not to mention the smell ]. Then there was that ever present “ring, tingy ting tin” exhaust note ………………dead right ,I was NOT a fan.

Apart from various Villiers engined devices [ all sub 250cc ], there was the Greeves marque in up to 380cc [ see my notes re: 380 QUB Griffon ], the Ariel Arrow and it’s derivitives [ dubbed “hairdresser’s bikes ]. There were other minority marques available in the UK – but none would give the satisfaction of a good 500 single or 650 twin.

Then – the Japanese arrived with their clever use of the 2 stroke in terms of style, technical advancement and acceptability. It wasn’t long before the major aftermarket suppliers realised this potential with rolling chassis’ soon available from Rickman and Seeley. The Bultaco Metisse was very succesful as an off road bike, a genre which Rickman seemed to favour for the 2 stroke models.

Read [ “Titan” ] championed the 2 stroke cause with the 500 Kawasaki Triple and split their loyalties between the Honda 750 and Kwacker. However, these were not complete bikes – rather heavily modified standard bikes, retaining their original frames and rolling gear. Dunstall also saw the 2 stroke emergence as a serious business – and soon majored on the Suzuki GT750. Both Dresda and Seeley had 2 stroke offerings – although their main interest was in circuit based bikes. Seeley offered a race derived rolling chassis for their Suzuki T500 offering, whilst a collaboration with QUB Belfast  [ Queen’s University – Dr. Gordon Blair ] produced a vey rapid circuit bike. All that said and noted – the 4 stroke kits outsold the 2 strokes by a massive majority.

Another style phenomena of the 70’s was the emergence of Fairings, largely ignored in the 60’s. Apart from the odd foray into rider protection by some factories [ Enfield “Dreamliner”, Velocette Vogue and later the Ariel Leader ] and aftermarket suppliers, fairings in the main never made the transition from track to road. As most “fast” bikes would barely [ If ]  just break the Ton, there was no real need seen for a fairing from the speed aspect – so most of the aftermarket offerings were aimed at Touring – or pure ex. Race fairings [ Peel Mountain Mile, Dolphin, etc ]. Neither was there any problem to protect the rider from wind blast on sustained 80 mph + rides of any consequence – as most Brit Bikes wouldn’t stand that kind of use. One fairing that WAS popular – the Avon or Metisse top half fairing. Fitted as standard to some Velos – and offered as an option with Metisse kits obviously. These fairings were seen as practical and not too bulky / clumsy. Still very popular today of course AND still available from the original manufacturers’ moulds [ amongst others] ! I’ve just been offered one in excellent condition [ an original ] with the Perspex nose cone for peanuts. I’ll see what it looks like on the Vindicator when it gets to the rolling stage. These were available with a matching lower fairing, but that was never popular for Café Racers.

Another 70’s style change was in the riding gear – Pudding Basin and Jet helmets had virtually given way to the new breed of full face helmets, and one piece leathers were also making the transition to road wear. NOT the race track refugee outfits we see today, but simple one layer [ lining extra ! ], no addditional protection [ apart from double layers at elbows, knees, arse ] and usually one colour. Lewis Leathers were the first to offer colours other than Black – Red or Blue ! AND with virtually NO weather protection [ See – March 2012 tale – “Father’s Easy Two [ Norton ES2 ] the Tight leathers and the Ride from Hell” ]. Rivetts were the other major Race leathers manufacturer and soon followed suit with their own colourway offerings, and soon stripes and alternate coloured body panels were being offered by both manufacturers.

Apart from some of the main suppliers, engine tuning had more or less died out by the 70’s. Mostly as power was NOT a problem for the new breed of Japanese multis and two strokes. Handling however still continued to be somewhat of an issue – the actual roadholding part cured in the main by the fitting of Dunlop’s famous “TT100s”, or Avon’s “Roadrunners”. A switch to Girling shox usually helped out, whilst front fork springs were largely ignored ! That’s also where the specialist suppliers came in – most making a frame / chassis kit that you simply slipped in your Japaneese engine of choice. Again, Rickman was the class leader although Seeley also turned out some nice kit. Problem was – cost, and it wasn’t long before the old Café Racer ethos of the 60’s started to emerge – this time aroud there were also the new fangled “Choppers” !!! If you were exceedingly rich you might go for a Bakker, Egli or Bimota chassis for your Japanese multi.

Other frame manufacturers also started to make an appearance on UK shores – people like Fritz Egli. Nikko Bakker, and Arturo Magni. Bimota and Munch. These were out of the price range of most bikers who continued to look at other alternatives. Brit engined specials lurched on for a few more years, but could not compete in the horsepower stakes. To me - this was the end of the first Café Racer era.

Japanese bikes from the factory came with non anti-social silencers – ie TOO fargin quiet! So again, there grew up quite an aftermarket for optional silencers – Dunstall being one of the best known and for a while virtually became the generic term for aftermarket silencers – “I’m fitting a set of Dunstalls at the weekend” – everyone knew you meant silencers ! Pure performance exhaust manufacturers were also quick on the uptake, with all manner of 4 into 1, 4 into 2 into 4, and any combination thereof became readilly available – at a price.

Accessory suppliers for British bikes and engines began to fall by the wayside – although one that survived and will do you superb Gold Star replica silencers [ amongst a whole range of exhausts / silencers] is Armours – a South Coast  [ UK ] company that continues to supply top quality merchandise. And they have moved with the times. When I wanted a Goldie replica silencer in Stainless with a 2” [ yes 2” ] inlet and mounting brackets in my specified points – 2 weeks later I had the item and with only a £10 surcharge from the standard price ! No doubt that’s one reason they are still in business 5 decades since I first dealt with them. Unity Equipe are another outfit that has continued to supply original 60’s style Café Racer parts.


From a personal perspective – I had now [ start of the  ‘70’s ] joined the ranks of the Wife, Mortgage, 2.5 kids, family car [ albeit a Camaro ! ] and my day job of Importing speed equipment and spares AND building race and road engines [ V8 ] was now taking up most of my time. Hence the purchase of the 400 Four, a nice enough bike that could be dragged out of the garage when I fancied a ride without drama. Most of the 70’s was taken up with my new hobbies of Hot Rods and Drag Racing and by the mid 70’s designing and building my own range of replica Sports cars.

Various bikes passed briefly through my hands as the 70’s began, including a wickedly quick Greeves 380QUB Griffon Scrambler and a second Manx Goldie. BOTH were serious mistakes !!!! The Greeves was mental – wheelies in every gear - that’s before most people KNEW what a wheelie was !

The Manx Goldie SHOULD have been my perfect machine. This is where I should have taken Teazer’s timely advice to ditch the Rose tinted goggles. It was a beautiful looking and well built machine. With an ex. John Tickle nickel plated Manx frame and rolling chassis, with a Joe Dunphy modified front brake. The engine was a DBD34 with Taylor Dow mods and an RRT2 gearbox. The bike was raced with some reasonable success before I put it on the road. My Rose tinted memory was telling me what a superb machine it would be – in reality it had all the usual Goldie problems – bits falling off, starting first time or catch the bus – and in reality the handling was neither as good as a standard Manx or a Goldie !!! Whoever had originally built the bike had placed the engine up quite high – I suspect initially to try to clear the Goldie oil pump housing [ hence the kink in the Goldie lower frame rail ]. When this failed, a kink was put in the Manx lower rail, but the engine plates were not modified to lower the engine again. I spent the first 2 week’s ownership safety wiring just about every fixing on the bike.

I sold the Manx Goldie in quick order to a visiting Aussie who wanted it for a National Race series back in Oz. That was bizarre in itself – I advertised the bike in the Motorcycle papers and got a call from this Aussie who was staying at the Grand Hotel in London [ THE Grand Hotel ]. I had advertised the bike with the full spec and just invited “sensible offers” – I would have been delirious to get £500. The Aussie asked me to hold the bike until he could get there – I was about 30 miles from Central London. He said he would be there in a couple of hours – I thought  - “Yea right” ……………...

Sure enough, 2 hours later he turned up IN A TAXI to see the bike. It was one of those occassions when it started first time and behaved itself. Borrowing a helmet and jacket, he plonked an envelope with a thousand pounds in it as sureity in my hand  – and disappeared for an hour ! I was beginning to wonder if he’d binned it or done a runner – not that I was bothered as I’d only paid £350 for the bike 6 weeks earlier. When he eventually returned [ Taxi still waiting with meter running ! ] he had a grin from ear to ear and I knew it was sold. When it came to the negotiations I was convinced it would be at least the grand I had in the envelope.

He didn’t argue, and offered me the £1000 including delivering the bike to the Grand Hotel the next week. Which I did. That’s how the new 400 Four came about – they had just come on the market and were £464.00 inc. taxes. I even treated myself to a metalflake Shoie Full face helmet – which I still have ! I thought it was the first Japanese bike that at least partially captured what old Café Racers like me wanted [ the second was the first generation 600 Bandit ]. The bike was a revelation after getting off the Manx Goldie and was certainly as quick and almost as fast as the Goldie – and nothing fell off !

The amazing thing was the rev counter – the Red zone started at DOUBLE what the Goldie would rev to ! Being brought up on Brit bikes with a 6K rev limit [ if you wanted to keep the con rods on the inside of the crankcases ]. At first I was concerned about revving it, and initially hoverred around the 8K mark. When I took it back for the dealer first service, the mechanic said – nothing much happens below 9K and I should take advantage of the upper rev limits. On the way home I did, and boy what a shock to the system. It still took me a week or two to realise that the engine wasn’t going to explode at 11 – 12K !
 
My second born again experience occurred in 1978 – with a new Mrs.B and in 1978 a wicked ex. Endurance Racer Laverda Jota [ See 11th March 2011 “Mrs B 3rd., Production Racing Jota & the Handbag” ] Yes, the chronology is correct – I bought the Jota whilst still with Mrs.B 2nd. and it transferred with me to Mrs.B 3rd. !!

Now that virtually DID cross the divide between a typical Brit Café Racer AND Japanese reliability. It helped that it had originally been built for Endurance racing. For it’s day it was wickedly quick [ and fast  - 140 mph ] and had brakes to match. It had an Italian made three into one exhaust that terminated in a short reverse cone megaphone with NO baffles whatsoever !! Ever heard a Triple wailing at 8K plus on an open pipe !

That was another remarkably reliable bike – take it out of the garage and start / ride it. Lasted longer than the second Mrs.B as well !

As the 70’s came to a close, Japanese bikes were getting ever quicker and more sohisticated – and to me, they all looked the same - as they do now – if it’s Green it’s a Kawasaki, if it’s Blue it’s a Suzuki, if it’s Red / White it’s a Honda etc, etc, etc ………..

The Jota was eventually sold to a guy who was going to put it to it’s originally intended use – a proddie racer, and I became bikeless for a couple of decades.

Again a few odd bikes passed through my hands - CB900 Café Racer, a couple of Airhead Beemers, a 350 [364 ?] Benelli 4  - which was going down the Renzo Passolini Homage route when someone offered me obscene amounts of money for it ! A 350 Guzzi [ physically too small for me ], and a 960 GTS Duke -  but nothing really took my fancy. Then I retired in 2000 from the car business [ at least full time ] – and after a month or so of “nothing to get up for in the morning”, decided it was time to get biking again – and we all know where that went [ is going ] !!!!!!!!

Typical Rickman Cafe Racer kit

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Rickman_Street_Metisse_NL_1_zps1ddae057.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Rickman_Street_Metisse_NL_1_zps1ddae057.jpg.html)

Rickman Off Road kit

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/RIC_Metisse_zps743d5ec2.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/RIC_Metisse_zps743d5ec2.jpg.html)

The Interceptor I nearly bought

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Rickman20Interceptor_zpse599a984.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Rickman20Interceptor_zpse599a984.jpg.html)

Yet another Rickman variation - Race Bike

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/1964-matchless-rickman-metisse-g50_zps5316fac8.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/1964-matchless-rickman-metisse-g50_zps5316fac8.jpg.html)

The Fuggin Uggerly Velocette Vogue

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/fs_7146865-1-1_zps06ceac8b.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/fs_7146865-1-1_zps06ceac8b.jpg.html)

Guess Ariel took a long look at the Vogue before drawing up their Leader !!!

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Ariel-Leader_zpsfbc968df.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Ariel-Leader_zpsfbc968df.jpg.html)

The Metisse / Avon top fairing

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/ec0ccde9-7d59-40df-a1f5-126cfae4a450-atme_zpsaf8bf5e8.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/ec0ccde9-7d59-40df-a1f5-126cfae4a450-atme_zpsaf8bf5e8.jpg.html)

The Manx/Goldie [ that went to Oz ] - with my now 45 year old daughter Siovhan.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img087.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img087.jpg.html)

Royal Enfield's "Dreamliner" - ugh.............

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Royal-Enfield-Dreamliner-_zps962a8ab4.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Royal-Enfield-Dreamliner-_zps962a8ab4.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Oct 29, 2013, 18:52:42
Great tales BC..... I am ten years younger than you and lived in eastern Kentucky most of my life so, unfortunately, I missed the original cafe culture. I was into muscle cars most of my young life but also had several small motorbikes. At the age of 19 I was married and worked at the local Kroger grocery store. Married at the time (two children), buying my first house, working almost full time (union job) and attending college on the GI bill, I still had a good amount of disposable income. Ed Decker, one of the clerks, was always talking about how fast his Z-1 was and how easily he could drag the pegs and pull second gear wheelies. One day I grew tired of his bragging and said I did not believe him. He offered me a ride sometime so I could see he was telling the truth. That evening when we got off work I insisted that he take me a ride..... just a short one would be OK since he obviously did not want to do so. I got on the back of his Kaw....... he took off and I felt more acceleration than any of my muscle cars could muster (I had several big block Chevys in the tree years of licensed driving, including one COPO 427 Camaro). Ed hit second gear and pulled a wheelie which lasted till third gear. We were flying on that crowded Kroger parking lot...... and...... I was hooked !!!! I bought my first streetbike the next week.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 30, 2013, 06:45:36
Great tales BC..... I am ten years younger than you and lived in eastern Kentucky most of my life so, unfortunately, I missed the original cafe culture. I was into muscle cars most of my young life but also had several small motorbikes. At the age of 19 I was married and worked at the local Kroger grocery store. Married at the time (two children), buying my first house, working almost full time (union job) and attending college on the GI bill, I still had a good amount of disposable income. Ed Decker, one of the clerks, was always talking about how fast his Z-1 was and how easily he could drag the pegs and pull second gear wheelies. One day I grew tired of his bragging and said I did not believe him. He offered me a ride sometime so I could see he was telling the truth. That evening when we got off work I insisted that he take me a ride..... just a short one would be OK since he obviously did not want to do so. I got on the back of his Kaw....... he took off and I felt more acceleration than any of my muscle cars could muster (I had several big block Chevys in the tree years of licensed driving, including one COPO 427 Camaro). Ed hit second gear and pulled a wheelie which lasted till third gear. We were flying on that crowded Kroger parking lot...... and...... I was hooked !!!! I bought my first streetbike the next week.

DJT,

I did it the other way around ! Started with bikes [ and meandered along ever since ], then moved into Muscle Cars, Hot Rods, Dragsters as the 60s faded into the 70s.

You may know of the US based Performance Automotive Wharehouse [ PAW ] speed equipment / parts business that was rampant in the late 80's, 90's >.  That was my pal Keith Harvie - I ran his "Americar" speed equipment outfit in the UK before he moved to the US [ 1976 /77 ? ] to open PAW and I opened my own businesses.

We had some awesome cars passing through our hands in the 70's - a lot coming from US servicemen returning to the US after their various postings to the UK and Europe [ especially Belgium / Germany ]. That was when I got into building race and road V8 engines and Drag cars [ doorslammers ].

My first real eye opener with Japanese machinery [ I WAS that naysayer ! ] was around in the early 70's when a pal called round on his new Kawasaki triple [ 250 ? ]. At first we all royally took the piss, and he suggested I took it for a run down the road a while. There was a small village bye-pass nor far from our house, so I decided to take it for a short spin. Down to the roundabout and back ........pile of shite. When I got back he said I wasn't revving it nearly high enough. So off again - 3/4 of the way round the  roundabout for the return trip and I made the mistake of REALLY opening the throttle. The front wheel came up - while I was still partially cranked over and the thing shot off like a ballistic missile. How the hell I didn't fall off I have no idea! All my watching pals were suitably impressed - thinking I'd done it deliberately. THAT did impress me - although didn't improve my dislike [ generally ] for 2 strokes.

Here's our Camaro "Firebrewed" - we flew to Ohio to buy the car after seeing it

 (http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/03220PQ-1_zps20b0dc50.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/03220PQ-1_zps20b0dc50.jpg.html)

And here's the ex. Lawce Bros & Gunn Comp Altered - we bought that in California !!

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/scan0011-5_zps67176344.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/scan0011-5_zps67176344.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Oct 30, 2013, 11:00:02
I think I remember one of PAW"s ads in Super Chevy Magazine. If I remember correctly the ad featured a big breasted nude woman holding a header. In the seventies all my pals were into street racing. Ashland was an industrial town, union jobs with decent hourly wage were to be had by everyone over the age of 18. Lots of disposable income available for the automotive dealerships to tap into so car lots were full of both new and used muscle cars........ some very rare and most relatively cheap. Weekend cruising and the red light Grand Prix were the order of the day. Street racing was very popular, at times even organized. One time a guy driving a big block Chevelle came down from Ohio to one of the local dairy bars. He let it be known he would drag race (on Rt US 23) anyone brave enough to do so for a $100 bet. That was a hell of a lot of money back in the mid sixties. Peanut Stevens who was a local drag racer (sprinter) and then current NHRA record holder in the A/ Altered class soon got word of this challenge. Come late Saturday night Peanut pulled into the lot with a flat bed truck loaded with his 426 Hemi powered,supercharged, fuel injected, Devon kit car, with 12 inch slicks. The gauntlet was thrown, his Devon unloaded and the race was on. Peanut did a burnout as did the Chevelle, both cars lined up in the public highway and they were flagged away by a brave bystander. In a few seconds the race was over...... Peanut collected his prize, loaded the car, and got the hell out of there before the law came. That was 40+ years ago..... Peanut still has the Devon and from time to time we recount the tale...........
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on Oct 31, 2013, 20:24:04
There was a v good programme on TV the other day in the series Timeshift called 'full throttle - the glory days of British motorbikes. It's still available to watch on BBCiplayer.  Great documentary well worth a watch gents ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 01, 2013, 09:05:10
There was a v good programme on TV the other day in the series Timeshift called 'full throttle - the glory days of British motorbikes. It's still available to watch on BBCiplayer.  Great documentary well worth a watch gents ;)

Yes saw it first time around and also recorded it.

The T/V only just missed being smashed to bits when Croxford started whingeing on about record racing .............

Apart from that and the innevitable Mark Wilsmore - who was 7 years old when the Ace CLOSED - not a bad programme. At least there was some new film footage that hasn't been done to death.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Erskine on Nov 01, 2013, 12:59:54
Yes saw it first time around and also recorded it.

The T/V only just missed being smashed to bits when Croxford started whingeing on about record racing .............

Apart from that and the innevitable Mark Wilsmore - who was 7 years old when the Ace CLOSED - not a bad programme. At least there was some new film footage that hasn't been done to death.

I really liked the bit about Lawrence of Arabia and his bikes.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 02, 2013, 07:24:06
I really liked the bit about Lawrence of Arabia and his bikes.

His private life had more than a few skeletons in the cupboard.

However, the stats for the bikes themselves are absolutely awesome for that era - I can't imagine doing 100+ mph on that bike in normal roadgoing conditions. Feeble brakes [ compared to performance / weight ], almost non existent suspension and skinny tyres - and for night time riding - virtually NO lights. The Promenade Percies of the day were true pioneers.

One of the commentators DID give the impression that England in the 1920s had a lack of paved roads and everywhere was "goat tracks and stray dogs " - hmmmm, right up there with "Record racing".

ONE breath of fresh air was the admittance that there were "only a handful of seaside scuffles between Mods and Rockers" fueled by [ provoked by ? ] the media.

I watched it again last night, prior to the showing of "Closer to the Edge" [ ITV ] - this time ready with the finger on the fast forward button for the inevitable gaffs and terminal inexactitudes. Yes, there was some very good stuff amongst the BS and as I said previously - some new film footage "from the day".

Just think, filming wasn't common in the 50s / 60s, but there must be miles of unseen footage taken by amateurs and pros alike.

My pal Micky Carpenter [ Carps ] was an unlikely film buff in those days and shot hundreds of reels in the Isle of Man for the TT and Manx races. Also UK races and Sprints - including some of myself Sprinting at Duxford, Debden and other venues.

Must try to track him down - it's been over 20 years since I last saw him after he moved from Dagenham to Cornwall.

I was the Stills merchant - but I have related what happened to my 1000s of pix !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 14, 2013, 06:41:17
One final tale coming up before Christmas - a "Christmas Tale" in fact !

I've been running back through all the tales as a prelude to sorting out "The Book" and just realised that this Christmas Tale will be the 3rd year of Tales I started in 2010. Who was it said "Yep - nostalgia ain't what it used to be " ?

"The Tiger 90 Sprinter and the haunted attic "

This time going back to the late 60's [ 1967 ? ]. It revolves around a time when I was quite into Sprinting, road racing having "given me up" as beng not quite good enough.  :'(

I was also in the transitional period of switching my main "hobby" to cars - again dabbling with circuit racing, and then more seriously - Drag Racing.

The Sprinter was based on a 350 Triumph Tiger 90 [ unit 350 motor ] -  it had a reverse head, quite ahead [ ha ha ]  of it's time and running on Methanol ........................ahhhh, the haunted attic ?????  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 26, 2013, 06:45:33
Yes, nearly there now - just looking for some period pix to illustrate.

While I was dwelling on the tale, another swum into my brain - so there will be at least two more, then that may well be it for a while.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 05, 2013, 06:08:40
Last one for this year - finishing touches nearly done, then I think I'll lay down in a dark garage for a few years ............................................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 05, 2013, 17:05:34
Been enjoying it BC.   Nothing to do with our tales realy.  But seeing your penchant for Enfields I thought I post this for you.  Don Sliger around 1970.  The first "naked" bike to exceed 200 mph.  Merry Christmas to you and Mrs. BC and a Happy New Year.

(http://imageshack.us/a/img10/2544/2tcx.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 06, 2013, 06:53:45
Why thank you kindly Hoof ..................

reciprocal greetings to you and yours, here's to that new record in 2014.  ;)

BTW - love that pic ..........always thought Connies were underrated.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 12, 2013, 08:13:41
Well here it is, Merry Christmas [ with apologies to Slade ]

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day

“The Tiger 90 Sprinter and the Haunted Attic”  December 2013


So here’s the last tale for 2013 and maybe for a while. We’re back to the Sixties for this one – 1966 and I’ve given up on circuit racing and got into Sprinting.

Through various deals I’d ended up with a couple of spare Tiger 90 engines – unit construction sports versions in 350cc, the smaller brother to the 500 unit twins. There were various models based on this motor – the cooking version being the 3TA, a mid range tourer / commuter. They were nowhere near as popular as the 500 unit motor and were very plentiful, meaning engines and spares were cheap.

I really had no plans for these engines, being too small [ capacity wise ] for me to be generally interested in for  a road bike. However a pal of mine was Sprinting a 350 unit BSA with some success in a purpose made chassis. I’d helped him at various times with the engine – especially when he decided to switch to Methanol. At the same time he wanted to go with a slightly longer wheelbase chassis – as was the current trend with the larger capacity bikes, so he bought enough material to make two frames – one each.

The whole idea of a tuning a small capacity engine appealed to me, and especially as the engine was very similar to my normal 500 / 650 Triumph engines. I wasn’t a fan of the unit construction design [ from an aesthetic view ] for Café Racers, but they certainly had a lot going for them as a Sprint motor. It did mean that without major surgery you were restricted to the Triumph gearbox – but that was fairly robust and certainly able to handle the increased power.

I had also acquired some of the very special race parts for the 350, courtesy of Tom Kirby’s ill fated Tiger 90 Race bike exercise. Kirby had been very successful with Manx Nortons before an equally successful switch to AJS 7R and Matchless G50 [ see The Inter engines, half a Manx engine, an Isetta bubblecar and a Wheelbarrow” ]. Tom had some very trick parts made for his prototype T90 derived race engines including pistons, con-rods, push rods etc., with some very exotic materials used.

This was about the time when I was getting into 4 wheel fun, so my lock up garage was full of cars and stuff, with no room to build the Sprinter. My pal agreed to build the frame for me, as he already had a suitable jig for his BSA, and all the components were just lying around in various sheds and cupboards ! A Tiger Cub donated the front end – forks and wheel, while the rear wheel was taken from the same Tiger 90 that gave up one of the engines. Other parts were again in various stockpiles including a pair of Methanol modified Amal carbs.

My pal Dave [ he of the infamous Rocket crash  [ see “Disastrous Day out at Duxford – never use Aerolastic straps to hold your Fuel Tank on” ] rented part of a 3 storey Victorian house in Romford, along with another of our pals – the 4 wheel version of Dangerous Roy. Both Dave and Les were keen photographers, and had turned part of their huge attic into a functioning photgraphic studio and darkroom – this had left another large space which they had no use for. Hmmm, only 4 stories up – ideal place to build a Sprinter !!

So a deal was done that I could use the space provided I didn’t get oil and shite everywhere, AND sorted out Dave’s new Gold Star [ see “How to tow a Gold Star – not” ].

The frame was soon knocked up in my pal’s shed and the bare engine cases used to mock up the engine plates – on the understanding that it didn’t take root there as his space was marginal [ 6’ x 8’ shed ].  The frame took the typical style of the day – large diameter [ 3” ] top tube that doubled as a fuel tank long wheelbase and naturally a rigid rear end. While we were at it I decided that I would reverse the cylinder head [ as was the current practice on Triumph twins ] and make up the exhaust to save time later. Once all that was done we pulled it all apart and sprayed up the various bits and pieces ready to transport the lot over to my pal’s attic. In the spirit of the day – lightness was King, even down to the “seat” which was no more than an open tubular loop. The exhaust [ rear facing ] ran VERY close to the underside of the open seating area, which resulted in the bike being named “Oomigooliesbike” after the first test ride.

That part of the move went without dramas as all the components were relatively small and light and I was soon established in my “workshop” part of the attic.

Now the attic was a dark dreary place that had an “atmosphere” and felt cold even when we had heaters on up there. Now I should point out right now that I am cynical, although agnostic about the “afterlife”, and despite tales of the attic being haunted – that didn’t bother me in the slightest. In fact, the overall atmosphere up there was such that Dave and Les would not work up there alone, and their respective Wives refused to go up there at all – leaving coffee and toast on the attic steps for us to collect !

The build went well, apart from the aggro of timing in the cams for the reverse head configuration !  Soon the bike had been fully assembled, and the time came for us to get the bike out of the attic and down 4 flights of stairs. Dave decided that he was going to record the event for posterity and loaded his camera [ Rollieflex ] with a fresh roll of film, anticipating all sorts of mayhem when we tried to get it down the stairs. We enlisted the help of a couple other mates together with Les to move the bike and Dave had the easy task of taking the photos.

Dave started off with some general shots of the complete bike in the attic, with the open door to their darkroom in the background. Again, there was a distinct cold and damp feel up there, even though it was late Summer. Our pals also commented on it, neither had been up there before.

Dave finished of the first roll of film as we were getting the bike out of the small attic door – by this time with the wheels out to make the tight turns a little more manouverable. And yes, the mayhem DID occur on the way down with Les getting his hand wedged between the engine and a door frame [ neccessitating a week off work – he was a graphic artist ! ] and one of our pals getting the bottom of the fork leg sliding neatly down his shins and into his foot ! That resulted in a trip to A&E and 10 stitches – after we got the bike down of course !

Dave continued to shoot with the second roll of film until the bike was finally brought down and assembled in the old “outhouse”. As everybody was well and truly fucked by the exercise [ some more than others! ], I decided to leave the odd tools and spares in the attic for another day.

We fired the bike up in the road outside their house and did a few burnouts just to annoy the neighbours !

That, ostensibly was the end of that little adventure. …………………….. until I got a call from Les a few days later to tell me he had just developed Dave’s first roll of film that was taken in the attic. This fact is important – as Dave had nothing to do with this part of the proceedure. Les was very quiet and suggested I came over as soon as possible to see the results. I was quite keen to see the pix myself anyway, so went over straight away.

He showed me 3 of the pictures and there was a very faint [ I hesitate from saying “Ghostly” ] but discernible figure of an old lady carrying a candle and wearing a long dark flowing Victorian dress. And there she was on all 3 pictures – The first looking directly at the camera and the next two turning and walking away. I immediately accused him of doctoring the pix in order boost his theory about the haunted attic. Then he produced the negatives, and sure enough, there were the images of the old lady. Remember this is before Photoshop or any other means of doctoring the film.

Dave returned from work later, and when he was shown the pix – said exactly the same as myself. Then he was shown the negatives, and had no answer for that and went quite pale. He had often said that he smelt burning candle wax when he was in the attic studio, and occassionally thought he had seen a flickering light out of the corner of his eye, whilst at the same time – there was a cold, clammy atmosphere in the room.

A couple of days later Dave took the negatives to a good friend of his at Ilford Films [ the film stock maker ] to get a second opinion. They spent a week going through the negatives and pictures and concluded that there was nothing in the manufacturing process that could have caused the image to be on the film, and that there was no evidence of tampering – and Les swore he just did a normal processing operation. There was nothing untoward on the second roll of film he shot.

Both dave and Les were sufficiently freaked out by this, that they couldn’t bring themselves to go back into the attic for months – and certainly not alone !  I must confess that I did wait until they were both up there working before I went back for my tools and spares !!!!!!!!

The story doesn’t end there – Ilford films sent a couple of guys round to check the attic out and take a load more pix, but the image was never captured again ...........................................

Something like this one.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/scan0004-15_zps5e44fb1d.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/scan0004-15_zps5e44fb1d.jpg.html)

Bare frame

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/T2eC16JE9s2fBWfrBRkpE1OJuw60_1_zps614f9782.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/T2eC16JE9s2fBWfrBRkpE1OJuw60_1_zps614f9782.jpg.html)

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: pidjones on Dec 16, 2013, 23:45:55
Great! Thanks for the early Christmas present

"Love 'em all.... Let God sort 'em out!"

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Dec 17, 2013, 22:29:40
Most excellent, "Ghosts of Christmas Past" type tale. :)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on Dec 18, 2013, 00:29:48
Good stuff, thanks as always. Merry Christmas TJ.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 22, 2013, 10:07:54
Time to say a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous [ and productive ] New Year to all my DTT pals. 8) 8) 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: skyler on Dec 22, 2013, 18:27:50
Great stories.  Thank's for sharing.
You should write a book!


Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Dec 22, 2013, 18:29:04
Merry Christmas BC and may God bless us....... each and every one.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 08, 2014, 07:09:34
I was just warming up towards another Tale unti my MIL was diagnosed with a huge cancerous lung tumour over Christmas, and sadly passed away on Monday  :'(.............. temporarily sucked all the will out of me.

Only 6 years my senior and NOT yer usual Mother in Law ...................

I'll gather myself up after the funeral and get back into my projects and the Tale.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Jan 08, 2014, 11:22:08
My condolences BC.    :(

Take care of you and yours, we will be here with a fresh cold-one when you return.  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jan 08, 2014, 12:27:22
Sorry for your loss BC......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jan 08, 2014, 15:49:00
Very sorry to hear that BC.   A rough way to start out the new year.   Regardless of your age losing a parent is hard.  Sincere condolences.  Take care of Mrs BC.  Come back when you're ready.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 09, 2014, 06:53:12
Thanx for the kind thoughts - much appreciated.

She was more like a pal than a MIL !!!! Here she is on our double date [ my 2nd date with Mrs.B [ Sylvia on the right ].

She will be sadly missed - thanx again lads.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img128_zps059b4029.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img128_zps059b4029.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 02, 2014, 07:56:13
Nearly back to normal .......................

With everyone's permission the next tale will be the previously promised [ threatened? ] story relating to my dealings with Carroll Shelby.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 10, 2014, 06:25:34
This tale is taking some time to lay out - has to be right.

It relates to my dealings with Carroll, Shelby American, and the Shelby Transplant Trust and will shed a little light on the private and corporate man. There will also be a selection of pix from my private collection - most never before published.

I was directly involved on Carroll's behalf during the litigation between Ford, AC [ Angliss ] and Shelby American, liaising with UK matters.

I was also the chief negotiator when Carroll wanted to endorse some of the better Cobra replicas out there. In the end there was only one - the RAM SC, which I continue to be involved with - albeit in a consultancy capacity now.

In later years I was appointed by Carroll as the Eurpoean Liaison Officer for The Shelby Transplant Trust - involved in organ donation and transplants for underprivileged folk, something very dear to Shelby. It was during this period that there were many opportunities to socialise with Shelby and his contemporaries - Moss, Brock, Bondurant, Salvadori, Brooks and many others - a true privilege and highlights of my life [ birth of Daughters, Marriage to Mrs B etc. excepted ! ] 

I was privileged to count Carroll a friend over the 30+ years I knew him and he became a Godfather to my Daughter - what else, but Shelby !

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img106_zps9821b812.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img106_zps9821b812.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 04, 2014, 06:18:27
Well - part 1 is nearly completed, just looking out some suitable pix to go along with it.

Looks like it might spread over 3 or 4 distinct Tales - stop me at any time you get bored !!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 11, 2014, 10:02:00
Here they are then as promised – the chronicles of my association with Carroll Shelby and his various enterprises from the mid-seventies on. Hopefully a little insight into the “Cobra Wars”, the private man and his Organ Transplant Trust Charity [ UK and Europe ].


Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day  -

The Shelby Connection  – March 2014

Part 1 - The Early Years               


I first met Shelby during his visit to promote the “Birmingham Grand Prix “ [ UK ] in 1978 . He had been invited to participate through various English racing contemporaries – Roy Salvadori, Roy Brookes, David Piper, Sir Stirling Moss ………….. The event was a lifetime ambition of ex racing driver Martin Hone, who had various enterprises in the Birmingham region – night clubs etc. One famous one being the “Opposite Lock” down by the Birmingham canal system in Gas Street. More correctly the event was named “On the Streets”, as ANY referrence to racing was banned by the city Father’s after massive arguments with the RAC – the sport’s governing body in the UK at the time.

I had relocated back to the Midlands [ with Mrs.B #2 ] and was active in the American Musclecar and Hot Rod scene, and by that time had opened my own speedshop – “Muscle City”. The shop was in a prominent position on one of the main routes into Birmingham – and only 5 miles from the city centre. More importantly – we were only a mile from the main BBC TV studios at Pebble Mill, and a further 2 miles from the ATV [commercial ] studios.

Whenever they needed American cars or memoribilia for programmes – we were the natural choice being well known to them, and we duly obliged.  Anything from Street cars to Dragsters ! It was as Martin Hone was putting the finishing touches to the plans for the 1978 “Cavalcade”, he saw one of our pieces on TV. A full blown rolling burnout with a Funny Car on the main road outside the BBC’s Pebble Mill studios ! That was enough to convince him to contact me to see if we could “assist” in any way.

Martin was unable to secure permission from the then governing body [ the RAC – never forgave the bastards ] to run any competitive racing, however the City Fathers did see the value [ commercial and tourism ] of staging the event as a Cavalcade. So it was that Martin called by the shop one day to ask us if we could organise various American cars and Hot Rods for the event. What I didn’t know was that he planned to have the cars as a static display – due to the resistance [ harrumphing ] of the Veteran and Vintage Car Club [ and others ] who thought the cars would “lower the tone” alongside their Bugattis, Maseratis, Ferraris, et al. I had agreed to take my partner’s [ Craig Purser – RIP ] fully loaded Trans Am – “the Mexican Missile”, which in the style of the day sported fantastic murals [ Vic Rollins ] depicting a Mexican sitting on a rocket drinking Tequila [ looooong story ]. It was felt that my Boss 429 Nascar Mustang – looked “too ordinary” ??

Anyway – the day of the Cavalcade dawned and we arrived in the paddock area early to scope out the fantastic old racers. Once we got wind of what was planned for our display – I legged it out of there in the Missile and parked myself up with some of the race cars. It was just as I was parking up and doing the obligatory static burnout [ hooligan, I know ] that Carroll came up and tapped on my window indicating for me to get out. Expecting a severe bollocking, I was surprised when he complimented me on the paint job AND burnout and invited me to join him for breakfast. In reality, it was probably a very foxy Mrs.B that he wanted to come along, but I’m not proud !

It wasn’t long before we got to talking cars – and Cobras in particular. I had just tripped over a pair of likely lads in Birmingham who just happened to have a set of moulds – albeit in two halves – a front and rear section. They wanted me to design a chassis and running gear to produce what would have been the first UK / European replica. We must have made an impression [ OK – Mrs.B made the impression ! ] because we found ourselves invited to join Shelby at his table for the evening Black Tie event organised by Martin. It was during the evening, that I came to realise that away from the spotlight Shelby was a real down to Earth guy – what we in the UK would call “one of the lads”.

The Cavalcade was planned for the following day, with the City Centre roads all being closed down. So we were able to socialise and visit with some of Shelby’s racing contemporaries. With Carroll’s accreditation we were accepted immediately into their circle – and again, were surprised at just how relaxed these motoring celebrities were  when out of the public eye.

When the Cavalcade got underway the following day, we tagged ourselves onto the rear of the Bugatti display – much to the amazement of the crowds – and especially the Musclecar and Hot Rod boys !

When we got back to the paddock after the parade, Carroll insisted that we kept in touch and signed a copy of his “Shelby’s Wildlife” for me. Of course we never expected to hear from him again after the event – but I was pleased to get a letter from him a month later together with some Shelby American memoribilia and an SAAC certificate and membership for my Boss 429 Nascar Mustang.

We kept in sporadic contact for the next several years – during which time I imported 2 Arntz replica Cobras [ POS ] courtesy of my pal Keith Harvie  [ Performance Automotive Wholesale – PAW ] and after we had totally revamped the bodyshells [ they WERE shite ] and I had designed a new chassis – I again contacted Shelby to tell him what we were up to.

I expected a round of fucks to come back – as this was the time he was getting somewhat peeved at all the replicas springing up. Not that he was against the replicas per se – but some of them WERE dire. NO, he fully encouraged me – especially when I sent drawings of my multi tube chassis design and 302ci Ford powerplant !

It was at this time that Shelby introduced me to one of his personal mantras – “OPM”, or “Other People’s Money” whilst recounting his own personal use of OPM when his Cobra plan was hatched. I liked this theory so much, I adopted for my own future business ventures !!

Most of you will be aware of Shelby’s Texas Two Step he performed with both Ford and AC Cars to enable the Cobra to come about – the ultimate application of OPM. It’s worth the telling as some may not be aware – and anyway, I got it first hand from the Man, so please indulge me !

Shelby recounted how his long time heart condtion came to a head in the 1959 season, forcing him to take the decision to quit racing before the heart situation caused him to have an accident – or worse. Like most seriously active men, Shelby needed something to fill the void, and turned his attentions to business. A flurry of businesses were attempted – the most successful being a truck haulage company – but this was not car racing !

A move back towards racing was on the cards and when Shelby won the West Coast distributorship for Goodyear racing tyres, he took the opportunity to set up a Racing Driver school at Riverside. It was at this time that a young Pete Brock was hired as a race instructor – later to become significant with Shelby’s graphics requirements and later, his design of the Daytona Coupe.

The race school was an instant success and fueled Shelby’s desire to produce an American Sports car – capable of beating the best. Many others [ US ] had tried with varying success along the way – but all failed to make the breakthrough. The sale of the trucking company reelased some capital, but nowhere near enough for his project needs.

The answer for Shelby came during a luncheon with an Auto magazine writer [ Ray Brock ] – when he told Shelby that AC Cars in England no longer had supplies of the Bristol engine used in the Ace sportscar. The chassis was a design by John Tojeiro and were available to anyone to slot their own engines into. AC saw the chassis as a basis for their own planned sports car [ they made boring saloons and Invalid carriages at the time ! ] and promptly did a deal with Tojeiro to buy the rights to produce the chassis.

Initially the Bristol engine was chosen and that was how the car was launced in 1953 – no hint of what was to come ! After the supply of Bristol engines ceased, AC briefly went onto use the modest Ford six, which normally found itself in Ford’s [ UK ] Zephyr and Zodiac saloons. This got Shelby thinking – a V8 was the answer ! He was able to rustle up a Bristol engined AC and after taking basic measurements, decided it would fit the bill. The body shape was by now somewhat outdated, but the chassis had plenty of potential. So in 1961 Shelby decided that was the way to go and wrote to the AC owners [ Hurlock Brothers ] to put his broad proposals for a US / English hybrid. Shelby at the time was based at Dean Moon’s facility – Moon sold Shelby’s Goodyear Tyres and in return offered him a small office complex [ OPM ! ]. Shelby saw first hand various Chevy engines on Moon’s dyno and was seriously impressed – that was the one. But after a series of preliminary enquiries, it became obvious that GM were not interested – after all they had the Corvette!  Then the fates intervened as Shelby got to hear about a new Canadian V8 Truck engine that had just been launced.

Then came the first part of the Texas Two step ………… Shelby contacted Ford saying he had this “deal tied up with a top UK Sports car company – just looking for a suitable tuneable V8” – and even had the “first rolling chassis sitiing in his workshop”. In reality it was a customer car he had borrowed and simply removed the Bristol engine ! Anyway, Ford took the bait and shipped Shelby a fresh 221ci Canadian V8 - foc. Pete Brock, Phil Remington and the good ole boys dug in and within the weekend had the motor installed. This was to be a proof of concept project and the car was never rolling under it’s own power. However, Brock took plenty of photos to whet Ford’s appetite.

An agreement in principle [ still no contracts at this point ] was reached whereby Shelby would ship one of the V8s [ supplied and shipped FOC by Ford ! ] over to AC cars and THEY would install it and get the car up and running [ OPM ].

By early 1961 the car was ready and Shelby flew to England to view the car and test it out at Silverstone.

Although the concept looked right, Shelby highlighted many little niggles with the car – the most serious being poor braking and the ancient Moss gearbox that was very much on it’s limits. A switch to a Ford box solved that and most of the other concerns were attended to before the car was shipped back to the US. Strangely, the engine didn’t make it back with the car !

Bizzarely some 40 + years later history repeated itself when Shelby sent a Caddy Northstar power unit over to us at RAM to be installed in a RAM chassis for Shelby’s evaluation. That car went to the US to undergo testing [ successful ], before being returned to RAM – less engine !

The boys soon found a suitable engine [ 260ci ] amongst Moon’s stash and within the day had it installed and running.

Now was time for Shelby’s biggest application of OPM. There was no formal contract from either Ford or AC at this time and Shelby somehow had to persuade both that the other was already signed up !

AC were the first to get the Shelby treatment – telling them that Ford would supply all the engines and development. So, when Shelby had his meeting with the Ford brass his racing credibility went before, whilst he gave the impression of being a wealthy Cattle Baron ! Taking along the Pete Brock photos of the POC car sealed Ford’s interest. The snake oil worked and Shelby secured an agreement that Ford would not only supply the powerplants, but would in fact bankroll the first 100 cars to ensure success – OPM of the highest order !

With that contract in his pocket, Shelby didn’t need much to persuade AC to fall in line, especially when he dangled the initial order for 100 cars under their noses !

So the Cobra was born – Shelby claiming the name came to him “in a dream”. In reality the name was later to be contested bitterly - I was involved in the litigation. [ in Shelby’s corner ].

From the outset Shelby referred to it as a “Shelby Cobra” – AC Cars as an “AC Cobra” and Ford as a “Ford Cobra” !! It would only end in tears – and lawyers making a ton of money. Later in the Tale.

Ford insisted on the name “Ford Cobra” and agreed that AC could market the cars in the UK and Europe as “AC Cobras”. Eventually the cars were badged [ fender ] with the Cobra name, with the rider “Powered by Ford”. That was my first lesson in OPM from the master’s side.

 
Shelby was a regular visitor to the UK – and especially to visit his buddy Engelbert Humperdink [ remember him ? ]. I met up with him socially on several of these these visits. We met at several shows, but had no official contact until the early 90’s, when Shelby was prepared to personally endorse some of the best replicas to help him promote his other passion – his Organ Transplant charities.

By this time I had wound down my own Cobra replica business due to the market being flooded with crap alternatives. Having sold my Cobra project to one of my German customers - who now bears the rights to the “AC” name and logos, I was now concentrating on Porsche replicas [ 356 Speedster and 550 Spyder ]. However, I was carrying out design consultancy work for my old pal at AC Realm Engineering [ RAM ] – concentrating on their new one make RAM / Bardhal Series race car – the SEC. Additionally I was fronting shows both in the UK and Europe on his behalf and carrying out marketing and advertising duties. It was in this role that I received a call from a guy [ Arley Dealey ] at Shelby American to enquire about arranging a visit for Carroll and his SA team to come over to evaluate the RAM [ amongst others ] as to the possibility of offering an official Carroll Shelby endorsement of the product. I’m not certain if he believed me or not when I told him that I knew Shelby well and we considered each other friends. Within an hour I got a phone call direct from Carroll – he was totally unaware of my connection with the RAM replica ! He asked me to officially assist with the hunt for suitable UK / Eropean replicas and also to discuss setting up the European arm of his organ transplant charity – the “Shelby Transplant Trust”.


Shelby had shortlisted several UK replicas [ none in Europe ], and arranged to come over to check them all out personally. He did say [ unnoficially ] that although his SA team had shortlisted 4 makes, in his view it was between the RAM and the DAX Cobra.

That neatly leads to part 2  -  later…………………………

The Shelby Endorsement, blagging free show stands and the Innes Ireland Memorial rally

A shot on Birmingham's Main Street - 1978 event and NO the Birmingham City Bus was NOT included on the parade !

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/birminghamonthestreets1978_zps4c6deac7.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/birminghamonthestreets1978_zps4c6deac7.jpg.html)

Crap picture of the "Mexican Missile" - Vic Rollins, the artist is trying to locate better pix.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/mexicanmissile_zpse07fffb3.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/mexicanmissile_zpse07fffb3.jpg.html)

"Shelby's Wildlife" - the signed copy that Shelby gave me in 1978

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/shelbyswildlife1_zps020d7c21.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/shelbyswildlife1_zps020d7c21.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/shelbyswildlife2_zps21e70316.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/shelbyswildlife2_zps21e70316.jpg.html)





Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 18, 2014, 06:43:45
Hmmmm - no feedback to the Shelby Tale ....... perhaps car related Tales are a step too far?

I'll take this on advice before I get into the remaining 2 parts of the Shelby Years - maybe outstaying my welcome ........................................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: pidjones on Mar 18, 2014, 07:42:11
Shelby truly a legend. You were blessed in your connections (sounds like you married up well). You also must have had some business sense yourself to have had several successful ones in early-market products and services. The people we meet throughout life become part of our life's story, and it seems yours is quite rich! What is the next chapter?

Sent from my LePanII using Tapatalk 2

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Mar 18, 2014, 08:22:12
Hell no keep em coming TJ, I read through it, enjoyed the tale but got called away from the PC before I could comment.  So as for feedback, keep on tellign the stories, any and all, bike, car, trips to the pub whatever.

Cheers,

Maritime.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: irk miller on Mar 18, 2014, 08:22:58
Hmmmm - no feedback to the Shelby Tale ....... perhaps car related Tales are a step too far?

I'll take this on advice before I get into the remaining 2 parts of the Shelby Years - maybe outstaying my welcome ........................................
  Hell of a story.  Bring on the car tales.  I was always a fan of Shelby despite being raised mostly with Mopars and VWs.  It's amazing how down to earth the car guys can be.  While I can't claim such established relationships, I've had the privilege of meeting a few NASCAR legends back in the day when my parent's spring company (dad was plant manager and mom a machinist) was given the contracts to make springs for Richard Petty and a few others.  At 12, we started building cars back in the corner of the plant where the bars were stored so we could take advantage of the overhead hoists (and stay out of the way).  I'll never forget the day the King walked in with his entourage all smiles and glory to inspect the facilities.  To a greasy home-building kid, it was a dream come true. 
I can't wait to hear more.  You sound like one heck of a legend yourself.   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Mar 18, 2014, 09:16:36
Hmmmm - no feedback to the Shelby Tale ....... perhaps car related Tales are a step too far?

I'll take this on advice before I get into the remaining 2 parts of the Shelby Years - maybe outstaying my welcome ........................................

I retold the tale at work if that is any feedback. Also my girlfriend knows when I start telling your tales.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: ridesolo on Mar 18, 2014, 22:07:23
Hmmmm - no feedback to the Shelby Tale ....... perhaps car related Tales are a step too far?

I'll take this on advice before I get into the remaining 2 parts of the Shelby Years - maybe outstaying my welcome ........................................
   

Don't quit, keep 'em coming,  I don't care how many wheels you are talking about, your stories are great and a part of history that should be passed along.  AND... you do a particularly good job telling a tale.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Mar 18, 2014, 23:21:37
Keep the Shelby tales coming BC...... I like cars almost as well as bikes  8) 8) 8).
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Keiff Hardcore on Mar 19, 2014, 01:27:07
all your stories have been engaging, entertaining, as well as well written.

being a car guy, i would love to see more about your experiences with shelby and cars in general.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 28, 2014, 08:12:28
Thanx guys ................ I'll finish off the remaining Shelby Tales - then maybe gracefully retire myself. 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 02, 2014, 05:51:22
OK - convinced I'm not boring the shit out of you guys [ at least some of you! ] ;D

Part 2 of the Shelby Tales will be coming up before I go to my Summer break in Saxony [ late August ], and the final chapter before Christmas - maybe another Christmas Tale !

There are also a few more Biking Tales for next year - I could be persuaded.  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 02, 2014, 19:27:49
Looking forward to reading them BC..... as always  8) 8) 8),
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Rich Ard on May 02, 2014, 20:28:01
Same here.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 26, 2014, 06:31:18
Lost a load of my graffix data with the latest PC virus >:( [ now fixed ] - that's slowing progress somwhat.

More a of PITA than anything as I am having to go through 1000s [ literally ] of stashed olde worlde photos to find the images to go along with the tale.

The tale itself has been storyboarded and just relying on the old memory banks to flesh it out ! ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Speedfreak on Jun 13, 2014, 05:09:47
Been busy reading this whole thread for the last couple of days, still not a sign of boredom, so keep them coming BC.

Greets Frank, 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 13, 2014, 05:41:14
Been busy reading this whole thread for the last couple of days, still not a sign of boredom, so keep them coming BC.

Greets Frank, 

Why thank you Frank ...............................

The problems with memories [ a bit like "holiday photos" ] is that what seems like "interesting" thoughts, do not always translate into "interesting reading !!

My main purpose [ initially ] was to give some of the younger peeps here a flavour of what it was REALLY like in the day. In original Cafe Racer terms - that's anyone under 55 !!!!!

There's so much bollox written about the era by people who weren't even born then - or at least [ like Mark Wilsmore - Ace ] only 5 or 7 !! What irritates me particularly is that these so called "experts" of the day will write / speak some total garbage, that will be believed verbatim by the innocents. I've lost count of how many objects I've thrown at the TV when "Cafe Racer" has been showing !

Then there's others who write magazines, make TV programmes, etc. and come out with statements and re-hashed myths as if they lived the day first hand.

I'm not even sure myself how the "Shelby Tales" got into this [ ?? ] - but I did "ask permission" first - and in any case these are first hand experiences I was privileged to experience with the man.  Likewise the pix ...... when I finally find all the old 35mm snaps ......... they are MY private photos and many will never have been previously published.

Through my dealings [ and subsequent, friendship ] with Shelby I was able to meet and mix with many of his contemporaries - Bob Bondurant, Pete Brock, Roy Salvadori, Jack Brabham, Stirling Moss ........................ - ALL with their own contribution and fame in the World of speciality Auto manufacture and competition.

Apologies - I mentioned this before - but one of my most memorable evenings was round our camp fire at LeMans where we'd [ RAM ] taken several Cobra reps for Carroll and ourselves to do the pre-race parade laps - when Mrs.B introduced Carroll, Pete Brock and Bob Bondurant to Pernod [ Pastis ] ................... the tales flowed long and hard into the wee hours.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jun 13, 2014, 06:01:45
I love those Shelby tales BC....... am anxious for the nest installment.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Speedfreak on Jun 13, 2014, 06:14:09
Here in the Netherlands they say "kinderen en dronkaards spreken de waarheid"  Kids and drunks tell the truth.  ;D
Wish I was there to hear al of their stories 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 14, 2014, 06:30:26
I decided a few of the tales should only be made public after Shelby and others involved passed on .....................

We recently lost both Roy Salvadori - who was sharing his winning Aston Martin in 1959 and Sir Jack Brabham, so that's a couple of little anecdotes that can be released. ;)

I conducted a couple of film and TV interviews with both Shelby and Brabham ... but it's the private stories that carry the most interest ! 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jun 14, 2014, 18:09:43
Come on BC..... we wanna' hear the good shit  :o :o :o.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 16, 2014, 05:31:40
Come on BC..... we wanna' hear the good shit  :o :o :o.

Ha, ha .................. this weekend's LeMans 24 hrs DID remind me of one of the stories Salvadori related about when he drove the GT40 at La Sarthe, and he said ................................................................................................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jun 16, 2014, 15:35:24
You old teaser you !!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 23, 2014, 09:32:25
Sorry guys, the next part of the Shelby tale will probably be AFTER I get back from my summer break in Saxony.

I'm still struggling to find some of the relevant pix that I want to share.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jul 23, 2014, 20:19:11
I'll be waitin' BC......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 06, 2014, 05:32:19
Back from my Saxony chill break now and eager to get on with stuff.

I've got at least a couple of weeks sorting out and then it's down to locating the Shelby related pix.

I took a load of books and personal stuff to the house in Reichenau - just to make it more "homely", and realised that there were several books and signed posters that made it there in error !

I found my signed copy of Salvadori's Book "Mon ami Mate" that he gave me for organising the cars for the Innes Ireland memorial rally, and a co-signed poster of the French Shelby Daytona Coupe that the boys signed for me at Le Mans in 1994.

Anyroadup ........... back on it now, definitely this side of Christmas.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: pidjones on Sep 06, 2014, 10:10:41
Yeah!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 09, 2014, 05:48:44
Slight sidetrack after my last post which has slowed things down .................. Mrs.B got her arm savaged by a friend's dog, and although the wound was relatively OK - the hospital fucked up and overlooked the puncture wound [ Canine ] on the bottom of her arm. That went septic, abscess, TWO operations, 10 days in hospital and a further 2 weeks recovering [ ongoing ]  ::) ::) ::)

Tale will still be done before Christmas - hope it's worth the wait !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Oct 09, 2014, 06:37:53
Sorry to hear about your wife Beach. Hope she is healing up well.

How is the dog?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Oct 09, 2014, 07:15:42
Wishing Mrs B a speedy recovery  :) :) :).
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 09, 2014, 07:19:40
Sorry to hear about your wife Beach. Hope she is healing up well.

How is the dog?

Funny you should ask !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thanx for your kind thoughts. Mrs. B is progressing well - stitches finally out today.

I have the clumsiest Doberman in captivity. The wound from the cancer op has all but healed over - in fact I'm back to the vet's this pm for her 3 month check up - looking good though.

HOWEVER, just when we got back from Saxony she was running around over the woods and managed to rip a front paw nail out !! That went septic [ of course ] despite cleaning the area every time she went out. Anti-biotics, pain killers, yah, dee, yaddy, yah. .......Ah well.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Oct 09, 2014, 07:26:17
Good to hear mate. I hope the stiches don't leave to big a scar.

I am glad that nasty looking cancer wound has healed up. Pity about the paw though.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Oct 15, 2014, 13:32:09
Heard you last night (early AM here) on C2C....great conversations with George! I usually use the show to put myself back to sleep (with a pillow phone) after rising during the night to attend to the needs of an enlarged prostate. But last night my attention was riveted and slumber didn't return until after your segment. Well done!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 24, 2014, 08:00:18
Thanx for the kind thoughts - appreciated.

BAck to the plot. I've found some of the pix I wanted to share - I'll make a real effort next week to find the others.

The storyline itself is 1/2 way there.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Oct 24, 2014, 22:00:49
Looking forward to it BC........
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 31, 2014, 11:54:22
Now I KNOW I'm getting [ got ?] senile. I have just realised that this tale overlaps with previous tales [ a year or two back ] and rather than not bother, I've integrated those tales in with some new stuff.

I really hope that doesn't piss you off too much - but it does put things into context.

Very soon now.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 14, 2014, 12:35:06
New tale finished - just picking the final pix to go with it ...... next week
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Nov 14, 2014, 23:52:32
We are ready.......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Nov 14, 2014, 23:58:11
The suspense is murder!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 16, 2014, 11:08:50
Here it is then .................... settle down for a long Christmas read !

There are some repititions in the story [ from previously ] and pix ..... but they are now all in context.

Forgive my senility.

Some earlier tales have been interwoven – please forgive any repitition that might offend – apologies now.


The Shelby Connection –
 
Part 2 - The Shelby Endorsement, blagging free show stands and the Innes Ireland Memorial rally, Le Mans and the infamous Peripherique.

We skip forward several years now – to the early 90’s for my next meaningful encounters with Shelby and Shelby American.

Although I had my own successful design and Replica Sports car manufacturing business, I still maintained a working relationship with my old pal AC, who I’d first encountered around 1970 through my Drag Racing activiites [ “Americar” ]. Adrian ran a successful – if mundane - GRP manufacturing business. The most exciting items being motorcycle top boxes ! After I left Americar and via “Deals on Wheels”, I set up my own US style speed shop “Muscle City”. That was reference to the multitude of Muscle cars [ US ] that always surrounded us ! It wasn’t long before I was importing speed equipment and Rodding parts. I’d always had a thing for Comp ‘27T Roadsters – Eddie Sigmund, Neil Mahr, John McLintic and others, so I imported a complete 27T Roadster kit from Total Performance AND a Gratiot Track T. After suitable mods to both bodies and parts, I contacted AC to get him to make me a set of moulds and produce kits.

A friendship developed alongside the business connection and eventually we were both in the business of manufacturing our own versions of the Cobra.

Although AC was an excellent salesman – he didn’t like dealing with all the customer “trivia” questions and I soon came to front some of his displays at various exhibitions on his behalf. Eventually, I sold my Cobra project off to a German customer to concentrate on Porsche replicas, which gave me a free hand to assist AC’s sales drives whenever he needed me. This also included arranging shows and advertising. It was during this phase that we received a call from Shelby American to enquire if we were interested in having Carroll check out the RAM Cobra with a view to a personal endorsement of the product ………..WOULD WE !!!!!!!! Initially we thought it was some sort of wind up from our pals, but eventually we came to realise this was the real deal.

Before we proceed, just a brief sidestep to return to the statement in the previous Tale about my German pal Jurgen Mohr who marketed my Cobra rep, and later took over my Porsche 356 Speedster, T6 and 550 Spyder projects. I continued to liaise with him and carry out consultancy work on all his models including the Gullwing Merc and his own Cobra. Jurgen always wanted to set his Cobra above all the others, and after we [ RAM ] secured Carroll’s personal [ and Shelby American ] endorsement for the Ram Cobra – where to go next ?

Well, Jurgen continued to improve and refine his Cobra and eventually tied up with …………….., the then current owner to the AC name and lineage. Soon a deal was struck, and Mohr’s latest offering is indeed known as the AC Cobra Mk6 – the legitimate bearer of the AC name.

Sidestep over.

Shelby by this time had a real bee in his bonnet about “replicas” of his Iconic Cobra and wanted to set about restoring some pride in the name. Having already had a long and protracted [ not to mention expensive ! ] legal 3 way battle with Ford and Brian Angliss [ AC owner ] he decided not to go back down that route. I was directly involved in this legal battle [ on Shelby’s side of course ! ] and was privvy to most of the ins and outs of the proceedings.

Carroll also wanted to set up a European charity to match that he’d already set up in the US to assist underprivileged people [ mostly kids ] to have life saving organ transplants. One of our customers at the time was the Chief Executive of Addenbrooks Hospital – the UK centre of excellence for heart and Organ tranplants and we were able to put the two parties in touch and the European Transplant Trust charity was formed. I was elected to the post of European Liaison Officer, responsible for promotions. With an upcoming Racing Car show in Birmingham and Martin Hone’s plans for a Memorial Rally for the race driver Innes Ireland [ who succumbed to Cancer ] with proceeds going to the McMillan Nurses Foundation [ cancer carers ] – I seemed to be set for a very busy time !

Taking a leaf from Carroll’s book, I decided to play one off against the other – the racing car show organisers and Martin Hone.

I told Martin that RAM would supply 6 cars for the motoring celebrities to drive and told the show organisers that the selected celebrities would be on hand for the show to launch both the Innes Ireland rally and the Heart Transplant Trust. At this time I had told neither Martin or Carroll of my plans !

Carroll was up for it, and contacted all his old racing buddies to come along to the show to launch the Heart Fund and get them to agree to drive the RAM cars in the Rally. Naturally, I told the show organisers that we would need two prestigious show stands to promote the events [ and RAM cars ! ] On hearing that I could bring along Shelby and his cohort, that didn’t take much persuading and they provided the two stands free of charge As an aside, I received invitations to the evening’s Black Tie ball for myself and Mrs.B. I have never seen so many race celebrities in one place together, let alone mixing and conversing with them.



Again, rather than rehash a previous story – with apologies here it is  in it’s original format –

“Carroll Shelby – The Innes Ireland Memorial Rally”

Several people have contacted me over my connections with Carroll Shelby – so here’s a brief backgrounder as a prelude to the main story.

In 1978 I visited my old pal [ and partner in the UK based “Americar” speed shop ] Keith Harvie, who had moved to the US to set up Performance Automotive Wharehouse [ PAW ].

I spent some time with Keith – including visiting his neighbours on the trading estate in Tarzana – including one Don Prudhomme !

Keith was busy building an Arntz Cobra complete with genuine 427 side oiler and all the good bits. I felt there was a good market for such a replica in the UK and we spoke with Steve Arntz to try to set up a deal for 2 cars. He refused to supply outside the Continental USA – so Keith bought the 2 kits for me [ !! ] and shipped them to England where I’d just set up my speed shop “Muscle City”.

The “chassis” was an abysmal mess, the body wasn’t much better. So we completely revamped the body and I designed a chassis taking Jaguar suspension. That was my introduction to Cobra replicas – there then followed 25+ years of involvement developing, manufacturing and selling. Along the way I developed a friendship with my pal Adrian Cocking from Realm Engineering [ RAM ] – who at that time made the fiberglass bodies for me. I continued to liaise with and design for AC over the years, so when Shelby American contacted Adrian to discuss a sole UK approval for Cobra replicas – I was called in to head the negotiations. Long story short – the approval was granted [ unique outside the US ] and I became very friendly with Shelby and ended up assisting in the setting up of his European Transplant Trust – handling organ transplants for underprivileged people. I was designated as the European Liaison Officer.

It was under this guise that I organized the vehicles for the celebrities to drive during the memorial festival for Innes Ireland. Innes was a truly talented driver who like many succumbed at a far too young age to cancer. This was at a time when the drivers were not so full of their own importance and counted each other [ in the main ] as comrades as well as competitors.

I arranged for a display at the National Racing Car show to showcase the Transplant Trust and it was during this time that all Shelby’s car racing buddies got together to honour Inness Ireland with a huge cavalcade, culminating at Silverstone Race track.

I arranged cars [ replicas ! ] for Carroll [ Cobra of course ], Sir Jack Brabham [ D Type ], Richard Noble MBE – former world speed record holder [ XKSS ], D Type for John Surtees MBE and various D’s and Cobras for other dignatories including the Lord Mayor of Birmingham.

I arranged for a private evening soiree courtesy of the show  [ they paid of course ] and then arranged for Carroll and his buddies [ Brabham, Moss, Brooks, David Piper, Salvadori and Richard Noble ] to attend.

One of the stories from the evening…………………. Roy Salvadori and Carroll were talking about the early GT40’s with the first big block cars. With the car entered for the Le Mans 24 hour race, after a dozen or so laps, Salvadori declared the cars wrere “bloody dangerous”, and although the drivers persevered - Salvadori decided enough was enough – and “found himself” stuck in the sand trap at Mulsanne corner and unable to continue !! Carroll and Salvadori had of course been team mates over the years – none so famous as their 1964 Le Mans win in the Aston Martin – securing Shelby’s championship year. Carroll’s description of that car?  “In reality a pile o’ shit”. This event returns later in the tales, when I organised RAM cars for the 35th anniversary at Le Mans were we had the official European launch of the Heart Fund.

There were some pretty fuzzy heads at the driver’s briefing the following morning for the start of the Rally from Birmingham’s NEC to Silverstone race track. The briefing had informed the drivers that they were to obey all the UK speed restrictions ………………… that lasted for about 15 minutes on the open road when Brabham blasted past Shelby and he gave chase ! Soon it was a pretty well free for all with speeds hovering around 130 mph +. As far as I’m aware, none of the participants received speeding tickets. The rally was a huge success, with over £80K being raised in total.

In all, 2000+ pretty prestigious cars congregated in the car parks of the National Exhibition Centre. The first stop over was the Jaguar Works in Coventry, where a lavish lunch had been put on by Jaguar for the dignatories. When the cavalcade started out again – the Chief Constable [ who was a guest ] emphasized that this was taking place on public roads and that the national speed limits REALLY should be observed ………………………

Well that lasted for all of 5 miles until Shelby overtook Sir Stirling Moss and gave him the finger ! Later the police reported a convoy of “fast moving cars” travelling on the motorway at speeds in excess of 130 mph !! No action was taken and the whole trip turned into a bit of a tear up.

I was travelling in my Cobra with the BBC television cameraman [ lady actually ] to record as much as possible.

It was a pure delight to see Shelby totally at ease with his racing mates, even my intrusion with the camera and interviews was not an imposition as I was considered a friend.


It was a revelation to hear stories that at the time could not possibly have been published. Like the time a certain driver at Le Mans put the Ford GT into the sandbank at Mulsanne corner rather than drive it as in his words it was “Bloody lethal”. Or when describing his championship winning Aston [ with Roy Salvadori as co-driver ] as “basically, a sack of shit”. Or when Carroll was asked about Enzo – “a man who needed a size 12 up his ass”.

All the celebs and dignatories gave up a considerable amount of time – some travelling 1000’s of miles to be there. Over £50K of the money raised was split with specific Cancer Charities, and apart from the evening soiree – the celebs received not a penny.

Apparently Innes Ireland was a definite hooligan – in a nice way. A rebel rouser and one who loved to party.

Carroll told us of the time after the Spa race, when Innes decided he wanted to see the view from the top of the local church. Having had a few drinks [ after the race ] he was refused entry to the church …….Carroll and the boys bet him he wouldn’t be able to get to see the view as the priest was adamant at not letting the drunken revellers into the church. So Innes proceeded to climb up the outside of steeple ! He did make it to the top, but didn’t make it down again before the priest had called the local gendarmerie. When they arrived -  lucky for the boys they were race enthusiasts – Carroll arranged for all present to autograph copies of the race programmes and forget about Innes’ little escapade.

When the cars eventually arrived at Silverstone they were all lined up around the circuit – with Carroll with Moss riding shotgun in the lead RAM Cobra. The cars stretched 3/4s of the way round the circuit and were 4 abreast. The Cavalcade then took 3 tours of the circuit before parking up for the speeches from the various celebs. The whole event was filmed by a bunch of friends from a local Film and lighting hire company, who with the management’s blessings took out several exceedingly valuable cameras, sound and lighting equipment – not to mention two company support vans and a specially adapted motorcycle film platform!

It would be hard to imagine today’s crop of F1 superstars all coming together for such an event for one of their number


So we move on and to Carroll’s personal endorsement of the RAM Cobra. By now RAM have set up headquarters in a 7000 sq.ft facility in Witham, Essex [ the village where the ancestral home of Ginetta was also located ] and the Cobra [ and D Type ] replicas are continuing to be market leaders.

By this time Shelby decided not to go down the litigation route, but rather to give his blessing and endorsement to what he considered the “top” replica around at the time – something the other replica manufacturers would have to compete against.

As previously, this came down to 4 contenders in the UK – and in reality a short list of two – DAX and RAM.

Shelby and his entourage descended upon both facilities without prior warning – DAX being the first to visit.

Although their product and manufacturing plant was first class – Shelby was ultimately put off by the fact that their top Cobra model was powered by a Jaguar V12 and not a traditional V8.

So, by the time he arrived at the RAM HQ, his mind was already mostly made up. The final decider was that just as he arrived, a customer Cobra – powered by a fully period dressed 302 Ford - was being road tested ! Shelby soon slipped behind the wheel – and his mind was made up during that first test drive. There then followed weeks of negotiations with SA – Carroll coming in on the important decisions. One such was the badging for the endorsed car. His design team came up with a pretty crappy roundel [ I still have one somewhere ! ] to replace the AC logo commonly on the front of the car. I suggested rather that we replaced the Ford 427 side fender badge, with one bearing the endorsement and Carroll’s signature. I did a rough sketch – including a likeness of Carroll’s signature – and when I sent it to SA they assumed Carroll had already seen and approved the draft ! So that’s the story behind the Shelby fender badge logo. Armed with this, the RAM marque went on to sell Worldwide and become one of the most respected replicas available.

During one of the previous meetings to discuss the promotions for both RAM and the Transplant Trust – I suggested that we could do something for the upcoming 35th anniversary of Shelby’s Championship winning year in the Aston.  Rather than repeat the story – here’s the earlier tale reproduced.

Again a little backgrounder is required here. During 1993/4 I was heavily involved with Shelby and Shelby American – initially collaborating with SA on Carroll’s endorsement of the RAM Cobra replica, and as I became more involved – and friendly with Carroll – he asked me to head up the European branch of his Shelby Transplant Trust. I was appointed European Liaison Officer, and in this post I was also tasked with getting the Trust as much publicity as possible. This began with the Innes Ireland Memorial Rally [ subject of a previous tale ] and continued with my securing Free stand space at the prestigious Racing Car show held in Birmingham – see attached pic.

It was whilst attending this show I introduced Shelby to one of the organisers of the LeMans 24 hour race from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. He [ ACO ] had approached me with a view to us running a round of the RAM / Bardahl Trophy series prior to the 24 Hours race proper. The RAM / Bardahl Trophy was a one make series for identical RAM Cobras – which now had Shelby’s personal endorsement. In the event, the control tyre supplier to the series cried off as they were concerned about the stress of 10 laps including the fearsome Mulsanne Straight – even with chicanes !

The ACO were pretty dissapointed as they wanted to mark Shelby’s [ with Roy Salvadori ] 35th Anniversary race win [ in the Aston ] which secured Shelby’s World Championship.

I suggested to him that maybe I could persuade Shelby to attend and we would use several of the Trophy series cars in the cavalcade laps before the race. He jumped at the suggestion, so it was just a matter of running it by Carroll – with the platform that we could also have a high profile promotion for the Transplant Trust – job done.

It ALSO just so happened that the current owner of the race winning Aston – Harry Laventas – is a REAL petrolhead AND the Aston was being displayed at the same show – see where we’re going with this ?

Harry was delighted when I rolled up on his stand with Carroll and Salvadori in tow ! Carroll and Roy were re-united with their race winning car and Harry was over the moon with the publicity opportunities of having Carroll pictured in his car. We all attended an evening soiree [ paid for by the  show organisers ! ] at which I suggested that Harry might like the opportunity for Carroll to drive the car around LeMans on the occasion of the 35th. anniversary of his win. Does a Bear shit in the woods ? Another deal done.

Why all this effort you may ask – well it had always been my ambition to drive around LeMans in the pre-race cavalcade – as any competitive appearance would be most unlikely !

With all the deals in place and the handshakes done – it was just left for me to organise things.

We prepared the car that Carroll had driven at the Innes Ireland Rally and 6 of the Trophy cars – we didn’t want any foul ups. Carroll called me to let me know he was bringing Bob Bondurant and Pete Brock over – could I organise RAM Cobras for them to drive ? Won’t bore you with the details of the nights of midnite oil burning, but we eventually wound up with the cars ready the weekend before the race. I was tasked with taking Shelby’s ride on a car trailer, whilst the other cars went via car tranporter.

So to the event – again pretty well working flat out the week before with little sleep I set out with the trailer accompanied by Mrs.B and AC from RAM [ Realm Engineering ]. I’d been a regular visitor to the 24 Hour race for the previous 20 odd years, having not missed a race since my first visit in 1968 [ another 100 or so tales right there ! ].

This was a journey I could do with my eyes shut ……………… well actually they were shut, about 3 am on the notorious Paris Peripherique. Yes, I fell asleep momentarily and awoke to find myself heading for the steep curved banking. Nearly got away with it, but just clipped the back of the trailer which then resulted in a burst trailer tyre, spinning round [ 20’ trailer and similar size Citroen CX Estate ]. When we came to rest [ AC and Mrs.B had been asleep when it all started ] it seemed like everything must surely be wrecked. Fortunately there were very few cars around at that time in the morning and we were just surveying the damage when a van full of Gendarmes turned up. They weren’t worried in the slightest that the accident had happened – just how to clear the road before rush hour. I suggested the best way was to take the Cobra off the trailer [ which had jack knifed into the back of the Citroen ] get that off the road and try to disentangle the trailer and Citroen and get that off the road. I should point out that we had smashed one wheel and ripped another tyre to shreds. Oh yes – Shelby’s Cobra had slid across the trailer and broken a chunk out of one of the “one off” wheels ! No other damage to the car, which was quite miraculous – except we were still 200 miles from LeMans with a wrecked trailer. There was also a 5 gallon Jerry Can of petrol in the boot of the Cobra which somehow had flipped the lid open spilling high octane fuel all over the road ! And there were the Gendarmes sitting on the Armco – casually smoking the obligatory Gitanes !

Having managed to pull the trailer and Citroen apart, we found there was surprisingly very little damage to the car and apart from a damaged light lens we were good to go. That just left the trailer – eventually we managed to sort out two diagonally opposite hubs with fully inflated tyres, but it was obvious that the Cobra couldn’t go back on. So there we were, wounded trailer and Cobra with a chunk broken out of the wheel. We elected to drive the Cobra and just take things steady with the trailer and car. We stopped for a well deserved breakfast and rang back to the factory to get one of the lads to drive out that day with 4 matching wheels and tyres for the Cobra and 2 spare wheels for the trailer.

And all this before we even arrived at the circuit. We eventually limped in to the campsite behind the Grandstands at 6 in the evening – only to find that AC had forgotten ALL the passes and paperwork to get us in ! 30 minutes of wrangling later and we were in. Just as we pulled in to the area reserved for Shelby and the others – the broken wheel on the Cobra finally gave up and broke completely !


The Bardahl hospitality boys had set up the truck and awnings etc. for us  - and the ATS company [ Cobra Daytona Replica ] had set up their hospitality truck and arranged 3 motor homes for Shelby, Brock and Bondurant. The head guy at ATS was trying to court Shelby to endorse his new Dayona Rep, and had gone all out with the hospitality to impress him – and the designer, Pete Brock.

Brock and Bondurant said they’s like to get acquainted with “their” Cobras – Carroll of course had already done a few hundred miles in “his”. Carroll took his Cobra out for a run and was none the wiser about my mishap on the way down. He did comment that the car was wearing different wheels to the last time he drove it !

On the evening before raceday the ATS guys had decided to thow a big party in Shelby’s honour [ remember the sucking up bit ? ], but an hour or so into the festivities, Shelby excused himself, and came round and joined our party as he said “with the good ole boys – not those starched up Frogs”. It wasn’t long before Brock and Bondurant also crept away and joined us.

That was when Mrs. B introduced Shelby,  Brock and Bondurant to the wonders of Pastis – Pernod to be precise – the stories flowed thick and fast of Shelby’s early days. That was a wonderful evening under the Sarthe stars.

Race day dawned with a beautiful sunrise and everyone had crawled out of their respective pits by 9.00am to a typical “Full English” breakfast – again the boys declined the offer of joining the French party for their typical “Continental” breakfast ! We prepped the Cobras one final time and took them onto the circuit to line up before the Cavalcade. Carroll asked us if we’d be peeved if he drove the Aston on the first laps with Harry Laventas – as if !!

So we all set off on the Cavalcade with myself driving “Shelby’s” Cobra – my lifelong automotive ambition finally achieved. Although I did have a job to do ! We needed pix of the event – some I even managed to get in focus and frame. We all came into the pits after the parade laps when Carroll transferred to the car I had been driving and I swapped to one of the race Cobras to follow him round. At the last minute a French TV cameraman asked if he could ride shotgun to film the event. I was grateful for that, as it meant I didn’t have to try to take pix at 100 + silly miles an hour. Carroll waved across and started off down the pit lane, I put my foot on the throttle – only to have the cable snap !!!! What were the chances of that………..

Not to be done out of my extra laps [ this time just the two of us ], I quickly pulled the outer cable off and fed the inner through the back of the bonnet so I could operate it by hand – that was on a 275 bhp race engine BTW.  I forget just HOW many times I’d done precisely that as a get home fix on my  bikes in the 60’s !

By this time Shelby was at the far end of the pit road and I had some serious catching up to do ………. Ah – problem, one hand on the throttle wire – which I couldn’t let go of, and one hand to steer ..oh shit. I asked the TV guy to change gear for me as I obviously had no free hand. He said he couldn’t – and then decided he WOULD after I took my one free hand off the wheel to change gear ! I finally caught Shelby up by the time we got to the Esses before the Dunlop Bridge – the Esses were a little exciting with just one hand on the wheel.

 The next two sections were pretty straightforward, but by this time Shelby was up at around 120mph + and the swoop into Tertre Rouge was looking decidedly iffy. However 400 yds into the Mulsanne Straight and the additional power of the race Cobra came into play and I’d caught up with Shelby and the cameraman was ecstatic with the shots he was getting. I have to say he was a brave guy, not sure I’d have been wielding that camera around kneeling up in the seat with no seat belts !

All was going really well until we got to the first chicane – I’d been up and down the Mulsanne dozens of times in all manner of fast cars – but NEVER encountered the chicanes before – oh dear. I arrived at the first chicane way too fast and in the wrong gear and with the cameraman concentrating on getting his shots – I just had to go for it. Shelby was well impressed when I came round the outside of him in the chicane, I didn’t let on afterwards that I was on the verge of total loss of control  [car and bowels ].  I was ready for the second chicane and I got the camera guy to select 3rd. [ 5 speed box ] and brake down to the correct RPM, rather than change down twice as you would normally. Shelby pulled away a little at the exit of the chicane as he was in the right gear ! The Cobra was then given the beans and we just topped 185mph as I caught Shelby just before the 40 mph Mulsanne Corner. Again, travelling way too fast, the car ended up in a beautiful power slide [ that’s to say more luck than judgement ] with the cameras flashes in the crowd going wild. Next was the series of bends at Arnage, this time I got the cameraman to put the Cob in 3rd. and “pottered” round whilst Shelby showing his old flair just powered through and was gone. The rest of the lap went without hitch, until we came to the new to me Ford chicane before the start finish straight.

Shelby was only supposed to do one lap as the time was running down and I was ready to go into the pits – which circumvented the chicane  - so at the last moment I had to take the chicane to follow him ……….again lurid slides and much encouragement from the crowd – if only they knew. The marshalls and officials jumped out down the straight and Shelby realised that he wasn’t getting another lap and slowed to take the adulation of the crowd – I fell in behind, didn’t want to miss that reflected glory moment.

The cameraman asked me if I could do a burnout so he could make his final shots through rubber smoke – could I !!!!!!!!! He was talking to a fully paid up Comp Altered driver ! He steadied himself  against the roll bar – and at 7000 rpm the clutch was dumped and a full 100 yds rolling burnout was the result, oh yes and I got a serious bollocking from the marshalls.

Back in the pits and the cars were taken into the paddock, whilst we went on up to the hospitality suite. Oh how the other half live.

The rest of the event was pretty much an anti-climax. Shelby was feted as the Grand marshall of the event, we got to have a superb meal put on by the ACO – and then we went back to our camp site to enjoy the racing whilst Shelby was whisked off here there and everywhere.

Then down to Earth - we spent the next few hours after the race straightening out the trailer and tow car and getting 4 good wheels and tyres on it for the trip home.

That wasn’t quite the end of the adventure - Harry Laventas had flown in on the Saturday morning [ in his private jet ] landing at the airport adjacent to the track. The plan was to take Carroll and the boys back to London for some further festivities before they went back home. What we didn’t know was that the main Organ Transplant Centre in France had organised an evening meal to cement the European part of the Transplant Trust. That only left Myself, Mrs.B and AC to represent the Trust as Harry had to be back in London that evening. AC begged off – as that kind of thing is not really him. Mrs. B and myself lapped it up ! I think the party finally finished around 3am – by which time we were too “tired and emotional” to even contemplate going back to the campsite, only to find that the French had booked a suite for us at this VERY expensive hotel – all paid for. When we got back to the campsite the next morning – it was very desolate. Everyone had left and it seemed a sad end to what had been an amazing experience.

And now some 18 years later everytime I see AC’s trailer – I look at the bow in the nearside metalwork and think of that 3 am adventure on the Peripherique – and my week with some true motoring legends.   

The Transplant Trust launch was also a roaring success and Carroll was reunited with his race winning Aston [ # 5 ] with current owner Harry Laventas for a parade lap, prior to getting in “his” Cobra for the solo lap with myself following up in the Cobra Race car carrying the French TV cameraman.

As I have stated before – I have been supremely privileged in my life to have been involved with and become friends with some of the top names in automotive racing history, what is it they say …….priceless.

BTW – in the intervening down time, some more bike related tales have reappered in my fuddled brain – next year though – that’s if you can stand more.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img216_zpsf16dcf50.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img216_zpsf16dcf50.jpg.html)

My "Free" film crew for the Innes Ireland Memorial - with my good pal Paul Hadley 3rd. from rt.

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Carroll at the launch of his Shelby Transplant Trust [ European ]
Mrs.B with the leMans race winning Aston
Carroll signing "his" Cobra [ A4 COB ]
CArroll's car with others going off to the I.I.Rally

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Shelby's pals signing up for the STT - 4 legends  + BC !

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Richard Noble [ World Land Speed guy ] in a RAM XKSS
Salvadori followed by Carroll [ I.I.Rally ]

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img214_zps1c40a19b.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img214_zps1c40a19b.jpg.html)

Carroll ready for the off
AC and Carroll in the car that clinched the Endorsement.

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Sunbeam Tigers setting off in front of the Cobs
Carroll & Harry in #5 Aston
Lined up ready for the Le Mans cavalcade
AC and CEO Addenbrookes [ Heart Transplant centre of excellence ] - my Race "Camera car next door !

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AC in front of me [ A4 COB ]
Carroll and Harry just entering the Mulsanne Straight from Tertre Rouge
Carroll readying himself for his solo lap [ with me in the camera car trying to keep up ]
A$ COB with the BArdahl Trophy boys in our camp

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The B/C designed fender badge
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Nov 18, 2014, 14:04:11
Good stuff...thanks for the wonderfully written memories and amazing images...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Nov 19, 2014, 00:37:45
Great stories and pics BC, I really enjoyed this one......... I know a little something about heart transplants being seven years out on my new heart !!!!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 19, 2014, 06:13:55
Great stories and pics BC, I really enjoyed this one......... I know a little something about heart transplants being seven years out on my new heart !!!!!!!

Congratulations on that one ................. I know there were at least 50 recipients of various organs during my time as Liaison Officer for the Trust .......... makes you feel good that you may have done something worthwhile in this life.

BTW - one last Bike related tale coming up before Christmas [ probably ]. Again another gentle [ 'ish ] tale this time

"Cafe Racer - the definitive beginnings, oh yes - and Record Racing .........pure bollox"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Nov 19, 2014, 23:10:31
Great..... love those bike stories and car stories too.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Nov 27, 2014, 08:57:59
So there will be a final Tale before Christmas ....... I was put in contact with "Dommie Dave" from the Tales - I completely lost touch with him, but due to the wonders of the Interweb, a mutual friend put us in touch.

We had a long rabbit over the phone [ he lives in Cornwall now ] and coincidentally the topics for my last Tale came up in our conversations.

It was great talking first hand with a guy who featured in my memory banks [ and the Tales ! ]

Pass me those Rose tinted Mk 9's  ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 08, 2014, 07:35:41
The "Christmas Tale" is coming this week .... and thanx to my long chat with Dommie Dave, he has reminded me of several more Tales worth the telling - next year.

Quite out of the blue, an old artist friend who used to do commission paintings for my replica car customers called in to see me at the weekend.

Out of the blue ? Last time we spoke [ 10 years ago ] he had moved to Greece and we had lost contact with each other. He's back living in the UK now and just happened to be passing .........................

So, why is that of any interest ?? Well he has been doing a lot of motorcycle artwork commissions recently - in addition to cars, aircraft, helicopters ................. and when I mentioned the "Tales", he said why not do an illustrated Coffee Table book !!!! This was without any prompting or prior knowledge that this idea has been sculling around for a year or two !

So, I'll be going back over the Tales to revamp them ready for that "book" - maybe ready for next Christmas !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Dec 09, 2014, 03:00:08
Yep, I would love to buy that.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 11, 2014, 12:28:20
Here it is then - the last tale for 2014 ............................

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day. December 2014

“Café Racers – The definitive beginnings, oh yes, and Record Racing …………….. pure bollox.”

I was talking to an old riding mate from the Sixties [ Dommie Dave ] a few weeks ago – we’d lost touch in the past 30 years or so, and had a lot of reminiscing to do. Dave has gone on from being an absolute hooligan [ see “Missing Motorcyclist 2 and the G45 at Teds “ ] to the CEO of a major printing company ! He lives in sunny Cornwall these days and get this ……. still has his Dommie ! Albeit now stripped [ 25 years ago ! ] for a rebuild and refurbish. Coincidentally – he now lives 20 miles from the scene of one of the Tales  - “Five for Sunny Cornwall” ! Dave also fondly [ ?? ] recalled the night we went to the Woodlands Caff [ The Crapping Owl ] – when he was the recipient of the contents of my flu ridden nose …..arrrggghhhh. Not a Tale as such, but previously recorded. We chewed the fat back and forth about those far off Golden [ note – not Rose tinted ] days. Dave featured in a lot of my “Tales”, even when not mentioned specifically. I actually bought one of my 500 Dommies from Dave, which really peed him off when I stripped it down to find it had half of the Competition Department’s goodies inside ! He’d bought the bike on a whim – then sold it to me before he’d even taken delivery of it. That Dommie was VERY rapid, and would stick with most 650s up to a ton. It maxed out a an honest 105 mph, but was very quick getting there.

Naturally several [ MANY ] topics came up – two of which bear relating for the benefit of those who didn’t ride through that era [ late ‘50’s / early 60’s ].

I’ve aired my thoughts on several occasions about those in their 30’s, 40’s, 50’s – even 60’s – who like to spout on about what it was like in the day, as if they had first hand experience. Many’s the time my TV only just escaped destruction as I threw various objects at it after some knob head told me yet again about “Record Racing” or how the term Café Racer came about, or the riots and punch ups at Brighton and other places.

I recently watched an English made Café Racer documentary, which in the main was good, with some new archive film and some good interviews. All was quite serene, I was enjoying the programme – and the TV was safe from hurled objects ……………… until Dave Croxford came on to be interviewed. For those who don’t know – “Crasher Croxford” [ clue’s in the name ] was a circuit racer of some considerable talent – win it or bin it was his motto. A real character and someone who came from the roads to the race track.

However, he then started to go on about “Record Racing” …………… for anyone who doesn’t know, RR was supposedly the basis for two riders to shoot it out with a blind from the  Caff Juke Box to a predetermined point [ usually a roundabout ] and back again before the record finished – first one back the winner……….. B  O  L  L  O  X.

There WERE races to roundabouts / whatever and back – but NEVER to a record. The Ace Café on London’s North Circular road is often quoted as one record racing venue – again bollox.

Try this at home kiddies [ or don’t, depending on health and safety regs in your area ].

MOST records of the late 50’s / 60’s of the type that found their way onto Café Juke Boxes were LESS THAN 2 MINUTES in length …………….. Elvis – “All Shock Up” – 1 min 57 secs,  Beach Boys – “I get Around”, 2 mins 15 secs – etc., etc., etc. A 3 minute play record was not common at all.

Here we go then …….. record on Juke box [ has to start according to Croxford and others ] – run out to bike, kick start – or bump start out of car park and feed onto main road ……. say 20 seconds assuming it starts first kick ? Now accelerate up to whatever your bike will do in the mile or so to the roundabout – brake [ feeble drum brakes ] and do the return run – brake again from whatever your max speed was in that 1 mile or so [ 70 / 80 MPH ? ], back into car park – bike on stand and back into the Caff to the Juke box. That’s also assuming the general traffic didn’t get in the way.

Very roughly – if you achieved an average of 60 mph and it was a 1 mile [ all for an easy life ] each way - and that’s some going – there’s 2 minutes + slowing for the roundabout, plus the 20 secs getting to the bike and another 20 seconds getting off, on the stand and back into the Caff – that leaves roughly ONE MINUTE to ride 2 miles from a dead stop to dead stop. Yeah, right. It wasn’t unknown for it to rain in the UK to add to the excitement.That’s also assuming you have a capable bike – Bonnie, Dommie, Goldie, CSR, etc. ……….. but a 350cc AJS, 500cc Bullet, 500cc Matchless ?????????????   

Now someone with a better mathematical brain than me will work out the dynamics of that scenario – but I think you get the point.

I think Croxford’s “local” Caff was Johnson’s – close to Brands Hatch – anyway, he mentioned it in his interview. I did that run a few times [ without records ]. Out of the car park and down “Death Hill” [ clue’s in the name again  ] to the roundabout at the bottom and back up to the Caff.  The approach to the roundabout was very tricky and deceptive as you approached it down a 1 in 20 hill. That was around a 3 mile round trip, with that 1 in 20 gradient to climb on the way back. The local Johnson’s Boys usually came out top due to their “local knowledge”.Try that to “I get Around”.

Those with 250cc plus Japanese bikes with disc brakes excluded from this debate !!

As stated in previous tales – “our” usual course was from the Lay Bye to the Gosnay’s roundabout, back up to the Moby Dick roundabout and back past the Lay Bye. The difference here was that the bikes were allowed to continue past the Lay Bye, this was after some hero came barrelling into the Lay Bye, ignoring the fact that his brakes were not up to the job of stopping  from his over ambitious speed – and he skittled over several bikes and people – he did “win” though ! More often than not a race would be from one Caff to another – “Café Racer”.

In 6 - 7 years of active riding during the “era” – I never ONCE witnessed a “Record Race” …. neither did Dommie Dave.

There – rant over [ ‘til next time ].

Which brings me to the term “Café Racer” – either applied to the rider or the machine.

The popular newspapers in the 60’s applied various terms which were meant to be derogatory / inflamatory – “Ton Up Kids”, “Boy Racers” [ see further down ] and “Coffee Bar Cowboys” being the most used. At that time  [ 1961 ‘ish ], we simply called our bikes “Specials” – with the builders as “Special Builders”

“Café Racer” came from a totally different direction – and was adopted by us riders of the time. Almost since the dawn of motorcycling, there have been refugees from mainstream or leisure riders - from pre - war “Promenade Percies” up to our riders of the Café Racer era [ 1950’s / 60’s ] - and beyond to our current crop of devotees.

So ………………………………. “Café Racer”.

In the late 50’s the race bikes to have [ over the counter ] were Norton, Matchless, AJS – or if you were a bit impoverished – a Goldie.

The “top” classes of the day were 350cc and 500cc, and the major manufacturers produced models suitable for those classes. Usually the same chassis / running gear with whatever capacity engine to suit.

The Manx Norton [ 350cc / 500cc ] was probably the most prolific – and successful, with the Matchless G50 [ 500cc ] and it’s cousin the AJS 7R [ 350cc ] the next weapons of choice. BSA also offered their Gold Star in both 350cc and 500cc capacities – but they were well outclassed by the others. This was in the days before the onslaught of the Japanese Two Strokes – and later, the 4 stroke mutltis

No mention of Café Racers yet ??........................................ Patience.

The AJS 7R got the nick name of “Boy Racer” – in itself a somewhat derisory term used by the owner’s of 500cc machinery ! See where this is going ? Strangely, the 350 Manx was always known as “Junior Manx”.

Then in the early 60’s, peeps started modifying Triumph and other “specials” and even Norton Twins. This was a relatively inexpensive way to go racing - Club level at least. Even the factories eventually caught on to this trend [ twins ] with Domiracers, and the Matchless G45 [ 500 twin ].

So, there were hundreds [ thousands ] of “Beachcombers“ around building specials in their sheds – initially as roadgoing machines – and as their licences became filled up with “tickets” for speeding etc. – most decided life on the race tracks was far safer [ for licence and life ]. Tracks like Brands Hatch had “test” days [ Wednesday ], when Joe public could take their bike and hurl it round the track for the princely sum of ten bob. That was 1/2 of a pound sterling [ which was 20 bob / shillings ], which was probably around £10 [ $16 ? ] in today’s equivalent. The early Track days !

I started out with a virtually standard 500 Goldie, which even after some tweaking was well below par compared with the “pure” race machinery, and it wasn’t long before the Goldie motor had to go, especially as my Triumph 500 Grand Prix engine was quicker, more reliable and cheaper on parts - so the first of a series of “Tribsas” got built – and raced [ see “How to Tow a Gold Star – not” ].

As the track was open to all – you would often find yourself on the track / in the paddock with some of the star riders of the day - Derek Minter, John Cooper, Bill Ivy ……………  I eventually drifted [ almost pun ]  towards sidecar outfits – first on the road and then pure racers [ see Tales ]. Brands was a favourite for the “Continental Circus” and particularly the sidecar racers, and I always made sure I was there when the Circus was in town testing for an upcoming meeting. Brands was about a 30 - 45 minute journey from home at the time – so most Wednesdays saw me there for a blind round. Initially that would be with seriously modified road bikes – Tribsa, Dommi, Goldie.. …….

We did our best to make sure we kept out of the way of the serious riders – but that didn’t always work out and we were soon dubbed “Boy Racers” by the “proper” Club racers and pros. Getting there ……………….

Then in the early 60’s due to the large numbers of road based specials, that name “Boy Racer” had morphed into “Café Racers” by the pros. By this time there were more “Café Racers” at the test days than serious machinery ! The name gelled with those of us part time racers / posseurs and it stuck. I imagine this was repeated around the country – but I heard the term first around early 1963 at Brands on one of the test days.

Later, some of these specials would go on to become serious contenders in their own right – Dave Degens went on to win International races with his Tritons and specials [ Dresda ] – and still builds super bikes to this day [ you can even order a Barcelona race winning replica].  There were the “Monards” [ Monty / Ward triumph based ] and Paul Dunstall with his Nortons.

It wasn’t long before the main factories started to produce their own “specials” based on roadgoing bikes – with the Thruxton endurance race being the major showcase. Every self respecting factory had their weapon of choice – thinly disguised racers. Bonneville, Velo’s Venom, Ajay’s CSR, BSA’s Goldie and Rocket Goldie …………..Thruxton especially became “the” race for manufacturers to win and attracted some very serious pro riders. I owned an ex. Thruxton Constellation – ridden by the great Bob Mac, which finished second after being dropped and repaired – beaten by one Mike Hailwood. That Connie was seriously fast – I mean seriously. I held the unnoficial title of top bike with it at the Lay Bye for many weeks and pulled a genuine 125 mph. That’s 125mph via the rev counter – not a high compression speedo !

Some of us “Café Racers” went on to take up racing more seriously [ if not always successfully ! ], but in mixed fields of Manxes, G50s, 7Rs, and the like – we, and our bikes were always known as …………………….. “Café Racers”.[/i]

Off the shelf Cafe Racer - not what it was all about really. ::)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/1966-dunstall-norton-dominator-477x570_zpsad87de1e.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/1966-dunstall-norton-dominator-477x570_zpsad87de1e.jpg.html)

This is more like it - could have been Dommi Dave's ! ;)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/norton650ss_zps7273f937.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/norton650ss_zps7273f937.jpg.html)

The Dave Degens [ Dresda ] Barcelona rep. - He'll still make you one ! 8)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/barca_zps1bb5e0ed.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/barca_zps1bb5e0ed.jpg.html)

Thruxton Endurance race

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/domiracerpauldunstall_zps2f24f928.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/domiracerpauldunstall_zps2f24f928.jpg.html)

The Monty / Ward "Monard" - very successful, if a bit "homely"

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/004411_zps1b90f102.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/004411_zps1b90f102.jpg.html)

Who said I had a thing for Connies !!!!!!! I ended up with this one - King of the Lay-Bye . ;D

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/bobmacmyconnie_zps8e86a637.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/bobmacmyconnie_zps8e86a637.jpg.html)

This was another one I owned after it was raced.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/dhyrdty_zps65736c0f.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/dhyrdty_zps65736c0f.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/dfhthru_zps68655341.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/dfhthru_zps68655341.jpg.html)


Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 17, 2014, 05:13:19
And just to start me off all over  ................................... I just got my latest [ Dec/Jan ] copy of "Cafe Racer" [ it was a Christmas prezzie, honest ].

There they go again, in their definitive ""Cafe Racer A-Z", there it is under "Record Race".

Now that will be another era of readers who "know it's a fact".....................................

oh yes and under "K - Kent" they have moved Brighton from it's home county of Sussex - to Kent.

A bit like saying New Orleans is in Carolina. It MUST be, I just read it.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: pidjones on Dec 17, 2014, 07:53:35
Beachcomber, I finally had the chance to enjoy your last two stories - great fun! And, the photos where icing. Memories of spending the night in a shop in Big Hill, Kentucky (a shed on the side of a country store) pulling a TR6C Triumph apart (my first bike) to replace bearings wiped by the PO never changing oil and the crank plugged solid with sludge. The mechanic let me use his tools (although I had a set of Whitworth), but I had to use my manual so that his would stay clean. He handled the trany part and I did the rest. He had a spare set of bearings from his drag bike with only one run on them that he sold me for $8. I had $20 to my name at the time, so he left me with gas money for my car to trailer the bike to my next duty station in Charleston, SC. That engine ran great after that, but two days straight and 600m mile drive after was rough. Glad I was young!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 17, 2014, 11:37:02
Beachcomber, I finally had the chance to enjoy your last two stories - great fun! And, the photos where icing. Memories of spending the night in a shop in Big Hill, Kentucky (a shed on the side of a country store) pulling a TR6C Triumph apart (my first bike) to replace bearings wiped by the PO never changing oil and the crank plugged solid with sludge. The mechanic let me use his tools (although I had a set of Whitworth), but I had to use my manual so that his would stay clean. He handled the trany part and I did the rest. He had a spare set of bearings from his drag bike with only one run on them that he sold me for $8. I had $20 to my name at the time, so he left me with gas money for my car to trailer the bike to my next duty station in Charleston, SC. That engine ran great after that, but two days straight and 600m mile drive after was rough. Glad I was young!

"If you want to keep your memories - first you have to live them"  - Bob Dylan
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Dec 18, 2014, 18:15:52
Thanks for the etymologies...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Dec 21, 2014, 08:09:33
Thanks BC, I never believed those record racing tales anyway. Although Crashford made me wonder if maybe it happened once or twice. I also know that Wilsmore was to young for the Cafe Racer Culture of the 50's and early 60's even though he talks as though he was there. I will give him lots of credit though for reviving the Cafe Culture of that time. I remember back on 76' when I first got into street bikes.......  I wanted to put clubman bars on my new 750 Yamaha shafty. No bike shop in my part of Kentucky even knew what clubman bars were so I had to settle for a set of drag bars. Unfortunately, most people here still do not know what a "Cafe Racer", a "Mod", or "Rocker" is. Hopefully this will change this summer when we put on a Mods VS Rocker rally at the local bowling alley, complete with scooter show, caf' racer show, and hopefully a pin-up girl contest. Also, didn't the mods and rockers mostly get along with the rockers and mods getting digs in one another much the same as the Harley VS Rice crowd here in the USA ???
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Dec 21, 2014, 08:11:27
OOOOOpppppsssss...... almost forgot. Thanks again for the great read !!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 21, 2014, 11:19:22
Yes, in reality we ALL got along for most of the time  until the newspapers had got no news stories and decided to make some up ! Lurid tales of Rockers with cut throat razors and bike chains - Mods with crow bars and Italian Stillettos [ not the footwear type ! ].

And yet for ALL this arsenal of mayhem - I don't ever remember ONE fatality amongst the Mods and Rockers. The famous Brighton punch up was preceeded the week before in the papers with tales of "upcoming riots" between the two parties. And guess what - the journalists and photographers just all happened to be in brighton that weekend ...... cynical, moi ?

I had several good mates who were Mods [ Dangerous Roy for one ]. We DID frequent different hangouts -coffee / Mocha bars for the scooter riders and caffs fo bikers.

Wilsmore ................................. a bit of an enigma. yes, he was 7/8 years old when the Ace CLOSED down and obviously hasn't got a clue about the nitty gritty of the day, but - he did have a vision, whether that was driven by business or passion - who knows. The result is a success whichever way you look at it. Doesn't get away from the fact that in the day it was a shit hole !

Thanx for the kind words - a few more in 2015 - courtesy of my 2 hour phone chat with Dommie Dave !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Dec 22, 2014, 14:59:27
We are lovin' the stroll (roll?) down memory lane. BC
Please keep it up.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 23, 2014, 06:38:01
We are lovin' the stroll (roll?) down memory lane. BC
Please keep it up.

Why thank you kindly sir ............................. believe me - I'm also having a ball reliving those events in my mind !

The human mind / memory is quite amazing - I quite often find myself going upstairs - or downstairs . and then think "what was I going to do". And yet - I can recall with absolute clarity events of 55 + years ago !

Sounds from the day are crystal clear - like the twitter from a Goldie silencer, the bellow of my Connie engine, my outfit on full drift with the skinny tyres protesting. I KNOW the "experts" say you cannot recall smells ............. but I still "recall" the smell of Castrol R, hot oily engines clicking and cooling down after a blast.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Dec 24, 2014, 00:02:07
Hey BC.   I haven't said much lately but I've been enjoying the stories.  Sounds and smells can be "burnt" into the brain.  You mention the twitter of a Goldie silencer.  As soon as I read that I heard the twitter of a Goldie outside our hotel in Douglas.  I can still hear the bellow of the Ryan Norton as he blew past me in a race in Northern Ireland.  And my pathetic effort to stay with Sam McClements on said Ryan Norton. 

So here's to a Merry Christmas and all the best for the New Year!!  Take care  BC.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/xq90/264/img0926qy9.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/7cimg0926qy9j)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 30, 2014, 05:21:24
That's some fine Christmas card Hoof !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!    ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jan 29, 2015, 05:12:24
So that's 2014 - another year ticked off .....................

Oh yes - serious [ I do mean serious ] dose of Man flu, my Dobe had to have a front toe amputated [ !! ] following breaking the nail off / infection / blah de blah. STILL waiting for my TR1 cams / springs and some other important items - engines are due to go in for machining end Feb.

As posted elsewhere - I managed to get a decent size lean to / workshop space constructed [ being constructed ] on the side of the house which will give me space to work on sub-assemblies of the bikes, bit of spraying, detailing etc. TWO decent [ will be ] benches and the promise of a decent engineers bench vice from a pal. What's not to like about 2015 so far ?

I've jacked up a meeting with Dommie Dave when he comes up to the Midlands on business in March AND made contact with the principal character in the Bungalow Tale.

As previously, my lengthy pre Christmas chat with Dommie Dave brought some more memories to the front of my brain.

End of Feb 'ish for the first one.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jan 29, 2015, 08:08:32
Been a long dreary cold winter here in Kentucky BC, can't  wait till Feb for your story to brighten up my winter  :) :) :).
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 19, 2015, 07:07:42
Been a long dreary cold winter here in Kentucky BC, can't  wait till Feb for your story to brighten up my winter  :) :) :).

Just had a phone call from Dommie Dave - he's due up my neck of the woods in 3-4 week's time. He'll be staying for a day or 2, so plenty of time to relive those "golden days".

There's a couple of tales in particular that he reminded me of last time we spoke, so I'll kick one of them into shape for the  March Tale.

BTW - just had an offer from another pal from the past to illustrate my projected Coffee table book of the tales - no, haven't forgotten about it !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Feb 19, 2015, 14:45:15
Good deal......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Feb 22, 2015, 07:18:00
Dommie Dave is definitely coming up to see me ..... on the 1st March, which just happens to be my birthday. Guess we'll have to consume a drink or 10.

We've already had a good laugh about the upcoming tale - but Dave is going to fill in some of the blanks I didn't know about.

Primarily Dommie Dave and Brian Rocket were the two most involved - I only got involved on the periphery, but WHAT a periphery !!  ;)

Coming up ...."Dommie Dave, Brian Rocket and the Norwegian fish canning company Heiress".
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Mar 03, 2015, 01:04:09
Happy belated Birthday BC!!.   Hope you had a good day.  Sorry I'm late.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 03, 2015, 07:10:18
Happy belated Birthday BC!!.   Hope you had a good day.  Sorry I'm late.

Thank you kindly Hoof .........................

8 [ various ] forum automated "Happy Birthday's, a dozen or so from "mates" on various forums and pals in France , Germany, Poland and fuckin' ZERO from the Outlaws - for non brits, that's relations by way of marriage [s ]. Hope I live long enough to piss on their graves.

OK - the serious stuff. Dommie Dave finally left yesterday evening [ needed the day to sober up ]- did we have the Mothers of all reunions !!!
48 hours of reminiscing - G O L D E N .

Not sure Mrs.B was all that impressed when Dave started recalling events from the various Tales. I'm not sure she realised I was that Wild of a Child in my younger days. That said, I did my best to keep that up through my 50's and 60's - slowing down a tad now.

Dave reminded me of a few other events that could demand a Tale or three.

He's in touch with another of my old mates who moved to Cornwall - Mick Carpenter [ Carps ].
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 13, 2015, 09:42:46
Well here it is - with due credit to my good mate Dommie Dave for filling in the blanks.

BEACHCOMBER'S TALES FROM THE DAY - MARCH 2015

“Dommie Dave, Brian Rocket & the Norwegian Fish Canning Heiress”


This is a true “life” Tale, which is placed timewise towards the end of the first wave of the Café Racer era.

The recollections were prompted by an impromptu catchup with my old riding buddy from the sixties – Dommie Dave. It’s fair to say that although there were no “cliques” as such, some of us had become really good mates – as well as riding buddies.

Dave was one of those close mates and as his moniker would suggest  his passion was Dominators [ oh yes – and women ]. Never a contender for top speed honours up the lay-bye, Dave came into his own on the twisty bits, of which there were loads around rural Essex where we were based. He built a series of extremely rapid Dommies, mostly 500cc versions and some 600s. It was the 500’s that had become notorious in our crowd, being beautifully crafted in the true 60’s Café Racer style. 3 or 5 gallon Manx tank, seat, clip-ons, rearsets, Borrani rims, etc.,etc.

At the time of this tale one of our crowd [ Brian Rocket ] had just lost his licence due to the latest speeding infringement – 90 mph in a 40 zone! He took the downtime [ 3 months ] to chrome just about any metal part on his Rocket – more of him later in the Tale. For my part, I still had the ex. Bob Mac Constellation, which by this time had been Café Racered [ a “Production Race” bike when I bought it ] and held the honours of top bike up the lay-bye.

As stated in previous Tales – Dave was something of a Babe Magnet, who didn’t have to try too hard to win the object of his desires - sometimes fleeting, ie one night stands. Dave like the rest of us always put in an appearance up the lay-bye and off to various Essex Caffs at least once a week. Thursday was “our” regular night, and in the Summer Friday was the night to set up plans for the weekend. Thursday was the natural choice as it generally followed the Wednesday Brands test and tune where we could try out new parts and set ups.

Dave had been missing for a few weeks from the regular test day and the Thursday night do, so we decided to call round his house to check him out. Dave wasn’t in, but his Mum [ most of us still living at home ] told us he had a new girlfriend and was spending a lot of time with her. That was most unlike Dave, as his little “Black Book” was bulging with eager partners, and it was quite usual to see him with a different bird every time he put in an appearance. This caused even more intrigue – what sort of bird could keep Dave to herself for that length of time ?

We soon found out ……………… Dave turned up at a Brands Hatch test day with a stunning statuesque Blonde – not only visually stunning, but she had some sort of weird accent that made her even more outstanding – OK – fuckable.

Her name was Anja and she was Norwegian – hence the accent. She was indeed the stereotypical “Norse Goddess” from head to toe, and all the important bits between. She was a student at the L.S.U. [ London School of Economics ], and had an appartment in a swanky part of London. Dave was very reticent about filling us in on her background – but she took a shine to me – later stating it was my Flame Red hair and beard that put her in mind of her Viking ancestors !!!!! So whilst Dave was doing his thing on the track – I came in early to find out more about her. She soon confided that she was in England at her Father’s wish to study for her Economics and Business degree, which had one more term to run, then she was back home to Norway.

When pushed further – she told me that her Father owned a fish canning company, in fact – the largest in Norway ! Her time at the LSU was to prepare her for a role in the company – and eventually inheriting the business.

Now then, I don’t know if you are familiar with Jarvis Cocker’s “Common People” ? If not check it out, actually check out William Shatner’s version. But she was the bird from that song. In other words – she was quite happy slumming it with our crowd for the experience. Either that or she was a shagaholic.

It wasn’t long before Dave got bored [ ?? ] with her and was seen with some of his usual female gang. Always one to keep his options open, Dave was still seeing Anja, but it wasn’t long before he got found out. Actually it came about as a result of him standing her up a couple of times and she decided to check him out.

Imagine our surprise when she turned up unannounced at a Brands test day. Nobody realised it was her at first when this leggy blonde got out of a 911S Porsche [ her 911 ].  Dave – as usual – had one of his pussy posse with him for the day, and was caught Red handed ! She went over and gave him a mouthfull of Norse obscenites, kicked him in the bollox and came over and asked me if I’d take her to the Brands Driver’s / Rider’s Clubhouse. C.O.O.L.

Dave was still in some serious pain [ she WAS a big girl ] nursing his bollox as we drove off to the Club House. Now, whether it was to spite Dave or whether she was into me [ I like to think the latter ] she made it quite apparent we had some unfinished business and invited me to a party the following weekend at her appartment.

I called her the day before to ensure it was still on – and not some Dave  backlash. I thought I’d best check on the dress code as it was in a REALLY posh part of London – and she insisted I came along in my usual bike gear. Jeans, denim shirt and leather jacket. The only nod to a normal dress code – was the Chelsea boots instead of the more normal bike boots. Oh yes, and to bring an overnight bag [ what the fuck’s that !! ]

On arrival outside her appartment there was an assortment of some very tasty cars, but only one other bike and several scooters. Yes, it soon became obvious that myself and the other biker [ Matchless CSR ] were the token “oiks” from the other World they didn’t normally see. Check out “Common People” again [ do yourself a favour - Shatner’s version.] However, it was just as obvious that she had to “show me off” to her rich mates as a “bit of rough”. Did I care? Did I bollox – as long as there was some horizontal jogging at some stage in the proceedings.

I had expected all “studenty” type peeps, but most were her Father’s business associates Sons and Daughters – also sent to England for “finishing school” – both life school and business studies. I had never been at a party at this level before – superb food and more alcohol than our local pub ! Around 1.00 am the theme tune from “The Vikings” film [ Kirk Douglas / Tony Curtis ] came on and this was the cue for all the males to go off to one of the bedrooms and the females to the other. Not one to be left out and curious as to the reason [ and well pissed ], I followed suit. Once inside everyone started stripping off ……WHHHOOOAAA THERE bud …WTF’s going on here. I needn’t have worried [ although I was a bit apprehensive ], for everyone got re-dressed in a variety of Viking costumes / furs that had been provided.

What followed could only be described as a Viking orgy of drink and sex. I could then see why Dave had been seduced [ literally ] by Anja for all those weeks.

Again, this was repeated for the next couple of weeks, until Anja was obviously up for a new experience…………………..

Enter Brian Rocket. Brian had just got his licence and bike back on the road and decided to take it to Brands for a shake down. True to form, Anja turned up – this time with a mate from the first Viking orgy in tow. She [ Bergit ] was apparantly my consolation prize for being ditched ! Now as Blonde as Anja was – Bergit was Raven haired, a complete contrast. Oh for a threesome.

Anja made a beeline for Brian’s bike – declaring it the most beautiful bike she’d ever seen. It was seriously OTT for most of us – but that’s what Brian wanted. Due to Brian’s absence from proceedings for most of the previous 3 months – they had never met. Talk about love at first sight. It was obvious to all around that there was an immediate spark between the two – and both promptly dissapeared from the scene for a few months. When we tried to check things out – we were told by Brian’s parents that he was living with “some rich bird with a Porsche in London”.

Indeed, Brian wasn’t seen for several more months – including his workplace.  Finally totally out of the blue, we all got an invite to Anja’s place for a “ special” party. This time it was to all Brian’s mates, so unlikly to be a re-run of the Viking orgy [ shame ].

When we turned up this time – it was mainly bikes parked outside her luxury appartment, with just a sprinkling of cars.

It turned out that she had completed her degree – and she and Brian were engaged !!!!

No, didn’t see that coming.

Within another 2 months they had packed up and returned to Norway where Anja took up some senior management post in her Father’s company [ also the only heir to the business !! ] and Brian took up a post in the transport department. A fairytale ending ? Well yes, we kept in sporadic touch for a few years to find out they had a couple of kids and Brian had been totally accepted into her family.

Fairytale ending two ……………….. Bergit was a year behind Anja at the LSU and stayed on in Anja’s appartment [ actually her Father’s company’s London crash pad ] and I attended several more Viking Orgy parties over the next 12 months before she went home to Norway.



I’ve actually visited the Castle that was used for “The Vikings” film – Fort “La Latte” in Normandy many times and you know when you have “special” songs and places that bring back pleasant memories? ...............................................................

Everytime I hear “The Vikings” theme, or “Common People” – I’m back in London at some Viking Orgy !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Mar 13, 2015, 14:20:06
An epic tale, worthy of the telling.   8)

To save some time:   https://youtu.be/ainyK6fXku0
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Mar 13, 2015, 15:18:48
Goddamn BC, you are one lucky fucker......... as are a few of us.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Mar 13, 2015, 15:33:10
LOL this was one of your best!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: ridesolo on Mar 13, 2015, 19:29:24
Excellent story, BC. 

Makes me laugh; the other day I was talking w/ my buddy hurco550 about past motorcycles and he said something about me putting together some stories like BC.  I told him that would be a no go; BC has sewn enough "wild oats" to have a very large ranch while mine would only make a very small kitchen herb garden.  After reading this I rest my case!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 15, 2015, 07:15:51
4Eyes thanx for that ...................... started me off on a Shatner and Nimoy musicfest yesterday ! Had to dig out all my related CDs......

Dave has asked me to point out that since he's been with his Wife of 30 years - he's a reformed man and hasn't strayed once  ???

There'll be a Summer Tale based on our reminiscences a few weeks ago ..................... 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Mar 15, 2015, 07:37:54
I can't wait to see the picture art to go along with that tale.

When is the book coming out again?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 16, 2015, 07:22:00
I can't wait to see the picture art to go along with that tale.

When is the book coming out again?

Brodie,

The text is coming along fine - I've gone back to the beginning of the Tales as more memories have returned, I've fleshed the stories out with more detail - HOWEVER ..... after my reunion with Dommie Dave, he also filled in some missing details - which means going back to the beginning again ! In the grand scheme of things - I would say well worth the effort.

Now then - illustrations are another matter. My artist extroardinaire pal John Hancox [ Hancox Art ] is in great demand these days, most of his time spent on commission paintings. The bike artwork is a passion rather than a real money spinner, and I'm a bit loathe to drag him away from the real work !

I have another artist pal - Ian Cunningham - whose forte is cars and aircraft. He WOULD have a go at the illustrations for the book, but his work is "clinical" and doesn't have the cartoon look that John Hancox has the flair for.

That said - there is NO excuse for me not to get the text completed ...................................

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img065_zpsp18z112t.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img065_zpsp18z112t.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Mar 16, 2015, 09:30:26
Put me on the list for a first edition signed book !!!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Mar 17, 2015, 16:00:36
Good read, BC. Thanks for sharing these memories...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Mar 19, 2015, 22:21:53
Put me on the list for a first edition signed book !!!!!!
Yep, stick me on that list as well. I need one for my library.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 20, 2015, 07:07:42
Put me on the list for a first edition signed book !!!!!!

DJT, Brodie and others who already expressed an interest .....................WHEN the book finally gets published [ 18 months ? ] I'll personally sign copies for all my DTT mates.

I'm working on revamping the text as we speak - trouble is it takes twice as long as I have to linger on the memories!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Mar 20, 2015, 09:12:36
cool I want one too.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Mar 28, 2015, 07:30:07
Revamp of Tales coming along nicely.

There will be one more before I go off my my Summer Saxony chill break.

HAven't decided yet which one of THREE ... so there will be more this year !!  ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 01, 2015, 08:08:25
After speaking with Dommie Dave at the weekend, the next tale will be

"TJ's built a WHAT ? - unlikely shoestring Cafe Racer"

It will be written up before I go off to Saxony.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Apr 01, 2015, 08:22:12
Excellent. I cannot wait to hear this one.

Because of your Tales I have been inspired to build a Brit Bike. Quite a few years away yet but research has begun.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 05, 2015, 11:16:43
Excellent. I cannot wait to hear this one.

Because of your Tales I have been inspired to build a Brit Bike. Quite a few years away yet but research has begun.

Brodie, glad to have been some small inspiration............

OK, courtesy of my reunion with Dommie Dave a few weeks ago, here's the latest Tale ...

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day April 2015

“TJ’s built a WHAT? ……..unlikely shoestring Café Racer”
 - or ….....”what can you get these days for 2 shots of whiskey and a ruined pair of jeans [ x 2 ] ”

This one’s especially for my mate Lior [ aka Union Jack ]

Don’t run away with the idea that we all had exciting and well built Café Racers – all the time ! Occassionally [ usually during a build ] there became a need to just have some transport to get around.

A traditional Café Racer conversion [ Tribsa for example ] could easilly be accomplished over a weekend with all parts to hand and painting etc. carried out beforehand. Usually we’d get something cheap and cheerful that would form the basis of a future build – a Triumph maybe [ for it’s engine ] an old B31 / 33 BSA or ES2 / Model 50 Norton for the rolling chassis. In the early ‘60’s not many of us had [ wanted ] cars – some had a trusty old van for race / bike transport, but nothing you’d want to be seen in !

So here I was at this very point in time – Phil Bishop [ my wheel builder ] was away on the Continent pursuing his Speedway hobby, and had decided to stay out for 3 consecutive weekend meetings. Yep – I’d dropped my hubs off [ for my Tribsa ] a couple of days before he left. He built wheels for nearly all the Speedway circus and a great many of the circuit racers too and so was exceedingly busy. He didn’t usually do wheel builds for “private” individuals, but I had an introduction via bike shop and race team owner Tom Kirby [ Roneo Corner ]. Normally he would fit a build in the same day – but with all the wheels he needed to take away, there was no chance. That had left me without any 2 wheeled transport to use until he came back and built my wheels.

Enter my Grandfather …………….. he had been responsible for getting me several bikes either exceedingly cheap – or literally for a drink [ a pint or two of beer ! ]. I had told him of my dilema and started checking out all my mates. Must have been a dry old time for cheap old runners as there was nothing suitable around. OK there were odd small 2 strokes [ James, Francis Barnet ……. ] and the usual Panthers and other old sidecar tugs – but nothing that would serve as a future build.

The following afternoon I got a call at the house saying could I collect Grandfather from the pub. Nothing unusual about that as he always called in to have a pint or 6 after work. As I walked in he was in full swing – in fact had already started on the Whiskeys [ did I mention we were Scots ? ] – this was all part of the ploy to get his drinking buddy in the right mood – for what? Well, he had “an old bike” in his shed that had belonged to his Brother in Law, which – by this time in the proceedings was mine for another Whiskey or two! Unfortunately he had no idea what it was, apart from having two exhaust pipes and painted Black.  Well that’s a start !

Seems his B-I-L was actually an ex B.I.L, as he’d run off with a bird from work and matey had no issues with getting rid of his bike that had been left in the family shed ! So by closing time [ pubs closed mid-day in those days ] I ended up doing the taxi job for all his drunken mates …. However, that did result in quite a few pennies as “thank you’s” from the lads. When we eventually arrived at the bloke’s house, we were shown to an old dilapidated shed in the back garden that looked like it hadn’t been disturbed for years. About this time I was seriously doubting that there would be anything worthwhile in there ! Another half hour or so of moving planks of wood, and old washing boiler and assorted squitter and I eventually unearthed a pile of old tarpaulins with a distinctly bike shaped lump underneath. By this time I was really expecting the worse……..

However, after the tarp was removed, there were a couple of cotton bedsheets [ ! ] over the bike – so someone had taken care over storing it. Getting quite excited now – and after the removal of the sheets – there it was, a 500cc Matchless G9. Not only was it complete and original, but in really good condition. A quick wipe over of the paint and chrome revealed that it really WAS in good condition.

I quickly threw the sheets back over the bike and went inside to tell matey that “yes, I would take it off his hands”. I didn’t want him to see how good it was, just in case!

I had a mate who lived a mile away and enlisted his help to get the bike out of the shed and round to his place, so I knew it was mine. Why not take it back home to Gran’s ? Well I already had two bikes in the front garden  - one already sold and waiting for collection. Not wishing to take the piss too much, I thought it best to get rid of the one that was already sold [ B31 ] and move the Matchless in.

Now this is when the good old “sod’s law” strikes – the day we decided to get the bike from my pal’s my van decided to have a non starting fit – eventually traced to a dodgey coil, but meant that the bike would have to be ridden [?] or pushed home.

Where we lived at the time [ Dagenham ] there was a railway line that effectively divided the town into the “old Dagenham village” [ where Grandfather’s favourite watering hole was situated ] and the newer “London overspill” development. The old village had survived all the new developments – and was stuck in an 18th Century timewarp. This was where the bike was now situated. As the Crow flies [ who watched a Crow flying to come up with that ? ] it was half a mile – in reality by road it meant a 3-4 mile detour to find a suitable road bridge over the railway. There were however several pedestrian bridges in between the two main road bridges – one almost directly leading between my mate’s house and Gran’s. NO brainer, there’s plan B if the bike doesn’t run. And of course – it didn’t !

Now here’s where you need a bit of imagination ………………. There was a farm track [ old 18th Century road ] that ran between the houses and the railway line on the “old Village” side of the tracks, with houses backing right up. When the railway line had been constructed, the farm track was effectively isolated, although officially still a public right of way – ie “citizens had the right to drive a herd of sheep or cattle” along it. The householders, realising the road was in effect no longer used, took the opportunity to do a little “land grabbing”, and extended their gardens all the way across the road to the railway boundary – not all, but a fair number. Some had erected woden fences, chain link fencing, whatever to deliniate their “new” ground. Problem was the only sensible [ ie quick ] way for us to get the bike out of matey’s garden to the bridge access – was along this disused farm track. See where this is going ………………

Let’s stop calling him Matey [ just remembered his name ] – Ronnie, and unfortunately he didn’t own a Rocket [ Rocket Ronnie would be perfect ] – he owned a Ton Ten. Ronnie’s house [ his parents ] was 5 houses along from the bridge – ie 4 gardens, and yes – ALL had fences of some sort or another. There was no way we could get it out the front as his brother had parked a dead Ford Zodiac across the drive.

We checked over all the obvious non starting problem areas [ except one vital point – remember that peeps  ], and when it was obvious it would have to be pushed, the decision was taken we’d go the farm track route. The first and second houses were no problem as the immediate neighbour was in and assisted with removing the chain link fence for us to get through, and into the 2nd house. Oh dear – a wooden paling fence. Sharpened wooden posts held together by wire. Ronnie decides to leap over the fence to get to the wire tie offs – but misjudged the height [ 3 ft ? ] and neatly got impaled via his best jeans. Fortunately for him, it was just the jeans. There was then much merriment as myself and the 1st neighbour tried to lift him off. Armed with his wire cutters Ronnie snipped through the wire ties and folded the fence back far enough to get the Matchless through – just one more to go. Fortunately this one had the same pailing fence as the one Ronnie had got stuck on, but this time he decided to do the sensible thing and snip the wire ties from HIS side. That just left one chain link fence, erected by the railway  as the pedestrian boundary to the bridge access. The other chain link fences were not much more than Chicken wire, but not only was this far more substantial, it utilised hidden locating points. By this time we were within inches of getting free and would not be defeated. Ronnie’s neighbour came back 5 minutes later with some substantial bolt cutters which made short work of the railway fence. Only this time we could’t reverse engineer our mods – as the anchor points were hidden ………… oh well.

That just left the matter of getting the Matchless up the 30 or so metal steps of the bridge. By this time the neighbour was enjoying our mission and fortunately stayed to help us. No real dramas, except to note how fuckin heavy a stock Matchless G9 was.

OK – going well then? Toooooooo well, something had to happen – and it did. Just as we pushed it over the last step to the top – we bumped into plod coming the other way pushing his bike [ pedal ]. That’s 20 minutes of my life I’ll never get back. “Why are you pushing that bike “ [ cos it won’t fuckin start Sherlock ], “Who is the owner” [ take your pick – 3 of us here ]. “Have you got insurance” [ it’s a pedestrian road mate ] – “ oh fuck me it’s time for tea and sandwiches” [ coffee and doughnuts ] on yer way” .

Across  the bridge in double quick time before he asks for the Log Book [ title ] – which of course we didn’t have!

Now then, those of you familiar with the Monty Python series will associate with this.

Having struggled our bollox off getting up the 30 steps – it was decided that I could simply sit on the bike and with 2 helpers holding it back to slow it down – Robert’s yer Pater’s sibling.
That worked extremely well for the first 3 or 4 steps, until Ronnie slipped and let go, his neighbour was unable to hold the bike back on his own and he also let go …………… the Matchless moved very swiftly under the influence of gravity, and it was about this time I realised the brakes weren’t too efficient – ie they were shite. The amazing thing is that I managed to stay aboard, the bleedin’ obvious was that it HAD to end in disater – and it did. The aforementioned chain link fencing [ railway quality ] bordered the pedestrian walkway on both sides of the walkway, and acted like a pretty effective cheese grater whilst the unfortunate Beachcomber slid along it until finally coming to rest and gently tipping over.  Yet another pair of wrecked jeans + miscellaneous scrapes and cuts ! Fortunately the G9 was barely marked, and at this time I really had no idea what to do with it after it served as a runaround for a week or two, but better if it looked as good as it did when I released it from it’s slumber in the shed.

So back to Gran’s and time to get the bugger running. Plenty of compression but a really weak spark from Joe Lucas’ finest [ magneto]. We removed the points and cam gear along with the 2 bakelite pick ups to check that over – clean the pick up ring – pull the springs a tad [ holding the brushes ] to give better contact  [ remember that one Hoof ! ] and generally clean everything up. All back together and a really healthy spark. A set of newly cleaned plugs and that was the electrical side sorted. Off with the Amal carb fuel bowl cover – and yes it was full of decayed fuel and god knows what debris. Float checked [ not punctured ] and turn the fuel tap on to flush whatever debris was left out of the sysytem – except nothing came out. Yep – checked everything a few days before, except the presence of  - fuel ……….cunt.

Fuel in, reassemble everything and – 5th or 6th kick, she’s away ! This one was fitted with OEM short oval cone meggas [ fully silenced ] and sounded fantastic. To our amazement everything worked.

So runaround for a week or two sorted ? Of course not – this is Beachcomber we’re talking about here. So having thanked Ronnie and his neighbour for their help [ short walk home boys ? ], I decided to call and see my mate Pete [ CSR ] who was well into things Matchless / AJS. And yes he did happen to have the spare set of swept back pipes that he’d tried on his CSR – but didn’t like [ back to the upswept Siamese ]. Back home just in time for Dommie Dave and Brian Rocket to turn up for a ride – not realising the Tribsa was not ready. So they decided to abandon a ride out and help convert the Matchbox to a Café Racer.

Within 2 hours we had the swepbacks installed – along with the OEM oval meggas [ looked and SOUNDED the bollox ], one of my AJS 7R seat and Goldie 5 gallon tank finished “the look”. Clip ons were straight forward, but the headlamp brackets took a little longer. Rear set assemblies courtesy of Pete – and we’re ready for some record racing [ only kidding ]. We had the makings of a pretty sweet looking Café Racer - albeit about 80mph flat out !!

Back again to Pete’s [ 3rd time ] to see if he had any alloy rims [ getting into the Matchbox now ] – no he hadn’t, but Phil Bishop was due back soon and could have the rims swapped out in a day.

So there we were [ ‘ish ], from a freebie bike [ OK 2 shots of Whiskey and a ride home ], a little imagination getting it home and 2 days later – a passable Café Racer was born.

The bike got some good reviews from the boys and even better from some of the newcomers. Two weeks later, Phil was back and the Tribsa wheels built.The Matchbox got some good secondhand rims Phil had lying about, finally built. Normal Girlings replacing the Jampot rear shox [ fuggly bastards ] to finish the “look”. It was a blast to ride and sounded absolutely superb on the OEM Matchless meggas.

Actually, the bike put back the building of the Tribsa a week or two as I was having such a good time riding it.

Talk up the Owl went from “TJ’s built a WHAT?” to “How much you want for that” in a matter of a  few weeks. A coat of Black paint later and some ace pinstriping by one of the boys [ namefade ] a pair of Matchless tank transfers and it really did look the bollox - a Matchless G45 if you closed one eye and squinted with the other ] still 80mph – but had all the right looks.

Happy ending ? A week or two after the Tribsa was finished, one of the young newcomers up the lay-bye decided he just had to have it the Matchbox. He had an Ariel Arrow and couldn’t stand the piss taking any longer. I could have bought a BARREL of Whiskey for what he paid me for it – I still remember that Matchbox with fondness.

Thanx to Dommie Dave for reminding me about this little saga when we had our reunion a few weeks ago.

He also reminded me of a couple of other incidents ………………………..   

As "bought" - just like this


(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/1955-Matchless-Motorcycle-for-Sale-at-Revival-Cycles-in-Austin_zpsvda6yy0n.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/1955-Matchless-Motorcycle-for-Sale-at-Revival-Cycles-in-Austin_zpsvda6yy0n.jpg.html)

The inspiration ......

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/48881_zpsze5c4vnw.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/48881_zpsze5c4vnw.jpg.html)

The reality - along these lines - note the sweptbacks

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/imagesCAOXEOBV_zpselj7ikjz.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/imagesCAOXEOBV_zpselj7ikjz.jpg.html)

The OEM G9 meggas

 (http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/ajs-matchless-exhaust-silencer-tp_4879871076110660377f_zps2nqfljea.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/ajs-matchless-exhaust-silencer-tp_4879871076110660377f_zps2nqfljea.jpg.html)

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Apr 08, 2015, 05:26:40
Just read through the last Tale to pick up any spelling / fat finger issues, and I realised a little clarification might be needed for my North American cousins.

My Grandfather worked "in the press" - this was in the days when the pages were type set in the ancient tradition [ no computers here ! ].

The press was situated around Fleet Street in London and traditionally worked through the night to get the papers printed and distributed in the early hours. Grandfather worked at the Daily Mirror - and in those days the unions held everybody by the bollox and insisted on THREE men for every one job. One working, one a relief - and the third just there in case anything happened to the other 2 !

The "Third Man" [ as they were known ] was usually the eldest / nearest retirement and most nights would be off on their way home by 2 o'clock. Fleet Street had special licensing laws and the pubs were open through the night and closed during the day.

Normal pub hours were mid-morning until mid-day - then closed until the evening openings around 6.00 - 10.30pm.   

So Grandfather would normally have a pint or two after work and return home for a few hours sleep - before going off to the Railway Arms or the Cross Keys in the Old Dagenham village.

Just to explain why the pub closed at mid-day !!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 10, 2015, 17:03:15
SO THE LAST ONE BEFORE MY SUMMER CHILL BREAK TO SAXONY COMING UP IN THE NEXT 2-3 WEEKS.

"Taking the Crown - Laybye racing - the REAL Ton Up Club"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on May 10, 2015, 23:27:54
Waiting semi-patiently.  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 11, 2015, 01:06:13
Great tale BC...... as always  :) :) :).
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 11, 2015, 02:17:48
Great story, as always BC.   Yes I remember stretching springs.  There's one on the sidecar right now (gearshift return).  I'm still trying to wrap my head around humping a lump up the steps of the railroad ped. crossing.  If they are the same as the ones in Ireland I tip my hat to you.  One job I had in Ireland I used the train as the job was 50 yards from the station.  The home trip meant I had to use one of those pedestrian bridges.  I hated it so much I would hop off the platform and run across the tracks and climb up the other platform.  Usually greeted by a bollicking from the station master.  but it beat climbing those stairs.  I still can't imagine climbing them with a bike.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 12, 2015, 06:28:31
Great story, as always BC.   Yes I remember stretching springs.  There's one on the sidecar right now (gearshift return).  I'm still trying to wrap my head around humping a lump up the steps of the railroad ped. crossing.  If they are the same as the ones in Ireland I tip my hat to you.  One job I had in Ireland I used the train as the job was 50 yards from the station.  The home trip meant I had to use one of those pedestrian bridges.  I hated it so much I would hop off the platform and run across the tracks and climb up the other platform.  Usually greeted by a bollicking from the station master.  but it beat climbing those stairs.  I still can't imagine climbing them with a bike.

Hoof,

I imagine those bridges were generic accross the railway system.

Known as "iron bridges" [ clue's in the name ! ] they were originally "temporary" bridges.

They had very minimal amounts of steel - the risers were open, which for someone a little "vertigo affected" like myself, was always a challenge when I was a nipper. They were always fun for pedestrians when it rained ! I remember several reports of peeps who had slipped going up the steps and got their leg trapped / broken as they went through the open riser.

I just Googled "Iron Railway Footbridges / Dagenham and came up with these images [ sorry abput the quality.

The first is similar to the style, but this one at Dagenham Dock Station - the pedestrian rail crossing had a right angle set to bring the lower steps in line with the approach lane. However the structure is very similar. The concrete stairs coming down to the platforms were a much later modification - probably back to that health and safety aspect.

The second pix is a bit poor, but could well be the actual bridge [! ] however all the anti throw yerself off structure over the top was not present in my day - and yes at least 2 peeps DID throw themselves off. Note the right angle step down to the last flight of steps ......... that's where our fun began !!!

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/3760261_b4df8485_zpszup6wk8t.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/3760261_b4df8485_zpszup6wk8t.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/imagesCAY2LGRC_zpshl4wpzqz.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/imagesCAY2LGRC_zpshl4wpzqz.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 12, 2015, 14:47:43
That's like I remember except the bridges in Ireland were open lattice at the top.  I saw a few people slip and fall on the wet iron.  Very easy to do.  Makes your effort all the more amazing (or desperate). 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 13, 2015, 10:18:16
So, while I was Googling "Iron rail bridges in Dagenham" - I thought I'd put in my Gran's old address in Reede Road where I spent my formative years [ and where I was born ! ] And hey presto !!! ;D  It's the house  [ white ] on the right of the attached pic.

And what do you know ......... It all began in that bedroom on the 1st. March 1944 !!!!  ;)

4 of the houses opposite disappeared in one 1000lbs bomb blast  - THE DAY I WAS BORN. Lucky or what. Some months later a flying bomb [ Doodlebug ] demolished another 6 houses just 4 up from us - I think that Bastard Hitler was trying to get me  ::)

So, you can just make out the 3 ft picket fence and small wooden gate.

Back in the day there was a 3 ft. strip of concrete under the window and the rest of the "garden" still given over to vegetable growing - a legacy of wartime.

That strip of concrete was where most of the bikes were built - or on the pavement [ sidewalk ].

Everything else had to be taken in through the front door and stored in the back garden.

Pass me those Rose tinted goggles .................................. 8)


(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/11694_0026_SM002607354_IMG_00_0000_zpsc4vy4e2v.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/11694_0026_SM002607354_IMG_00_0000_zpsc4vy4e2v.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: crazypj on May 13, 2015, 17:56:15
 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 16, 2015, 18:13:27
OK, so here I am all alone [ apart from my Dobe ] ......MrsB off cruising around the Med with my eldest Daughter Siovhan.

A few large Brandys [ as you do ] and I decided to finish off  ['ish ] the Lay-Bye tale.

Not sure if it was the Brandys, or the very sad ending to the Tale that got me into a bit of  a circumspect mood.......................

The Tale REALLY came to life in my memory banks as I was tapping the keys .... very, very soon - just looking for some suitable pix to accompany the Tale.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 18, 2015, 10:12:50
So here's the Tale ..........dedicated to the memory Of Vincent     R.I.P.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day

 "Taking the Crown - Laybye racing - the REAL Ton Up Club"  – May 2015   
[ RIP Vincent ]
 

So here’s how the REAL racing took place – and not a Juke Box in sight !

We’re back to the early 60’s here, 1962/3. The lay-bye [ see previous tales ] on the A12 bye-pass route around North Romford was renowned as THE  place to take your bike to prove your bragging rights, and of course - that elusive Ton.

There were the regular crew, who were the unofficial guardian’s of the Ton Up “Club” [ itself, unofficial]. Like most cliques, there were the inevitable “elders” who set the rules and officiated any disputes. Just to be clear, there was no “club” involved in these activities – just a like minded bunch of individuals who liked to gather to enjoy their hobby.

By this time I had established myself as one of the “elders”, along with most of my already mentioned pals – Dommie Dave, Rocket George, Bonneville Bob, “Gordon” Goldie………………

The requirements to be officially recognized as a Ton-Up member were to approach one of the elders [ together with your bike ] and request to be timed along 2 full length passes  of the “track” – that being from the Moby Dick to Gosnay’s roundabouts. The inductee would then be given a night to turn up and go for it.

One of the elders would then volunteer to accompany the new guy, following him at 100 mph (http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/img331_zpsngrzmoke.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/img331_zpsngrzmoke.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/val%209th%20may%20005_zpszj4zk7ew.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/val%209th%20may%20005_zpszj4zk7ew.jpg.html)

So that was how it happened and soon sorted the boys from the men – I say that with complete Political Correctness  [ as if I could give a shit ] – given a total lack of female Ton Uppers.

A lot of the time, the runs would come about as a result of someone shooting his mouth off about his 125 mph 250 AJS or whatever. Sometimes, to shoot down the more blatant claims – an “invite” would be sent out from one of us to try out for the Ton. After the inevitable dismal failure – most were never seen again, or if they were, they became a little more modest in their claims. The more intense failed riders would often then build a suitable bike [ or buy one ] that had the 100mph+ potential.

There was also a little known offshoot of the Ton Up club – the “Two Up Ton Up” …………which as the name suggests, involved carrying a pillion passenger whilst doing the Ton ! Only the passenger involved [ usually a bird ] had the bragging rights to be known as a TUTU [ that acronym’s a bit unfortunate ] member, and indeed they were known as “ballerinas” for that very reason.

It was never really that popular as most of us had single race seats anyway ! But never the less, WAS part of the early 60’s scene – I bet you won’t hear that one on “Café Racer” !

So what happened AFTER you became a member ? There always has to be a top dog in any organization whether official or not – someone will always rise to the top of the pile.

And so it was with the Lay-bye Ton Up club. Once you were accepted into the 100 mph gang, you then had an opportunity to shoot out for the top honour of the fastest bike – The “King of the Lay-Bye”.

Rather a long introduction, even by my standards !! But at least it sets the scene for the title of this Tale.

I had gradually risen to the elder status via a series of pretty rapid homebuilt, Tribsas, Tritons, and the odd Norton [ Inter ] or two. That is to say a regular Ton Up club member.

Status wasn’t transferrable from the rider’s “club” bike to another bike – that one also had to prove it was capable, usually a foregone conclusion. Neither was the status sold with the bike when it changed hands – the new owner still had to achieve the Ton under the club requirements.

My first tilt at the Crown was with my ex. race Manx Norton with the Bobby Dodger lights – this is the bike featured in the very first Tale. It was a pretty average off the shelf Manx, in reasonable condition and state of tune – albeit to standard factory specs. I’d been a “lurker” up the Lay-Bye and started to get in with the local crowd and was beginning to be accepted as “one of the boys” and the Manx was well known as being fast on the top end – but would be well out accelerated by a good Bonnie or Rocket up to around 60mph -70mph, when the Manx’ race pedigree started to tell. Everyone knew the Manx was well capable of the Ton, but I’d never officially joined the Ton Up club. Not long after the first Tale [ 1962 ], my riding mates were all egging me on to have a go at the Ton Up. The guy that was my mentor for the run owned a pretty well sorted Goldie [ 500 ] and was in fact used for short circuit racing as well as doubling up as his road ride. What I didn’t know at the time that this was in fact “Gordon Goldie” [ in fact Gerry - but that didn't work well ! ] ] and HE had just taken the crown from a Bonnie. So the Ton Up test was arranged for a Thursday night, after we’d done the rounds of the Caffs for the evening.

Small explanation of procedure – when shooting for membership the run always began from the short uphill drag to the Moby Dick roundabout, involving a full downhill pass, and a full return on the uphill side – finishing in the Lay-Bye opposite. There was also a long [ left hand going downhill ] curve, that a 100 mph+ began to sort out the handling. And so it was on this particular evening with me pulling out with Gordon following. The Manx really came into it’s own given the slight downhill run after the roundabout, and in any event – was the equal of the Goldie in acceleration [ relative lack of ]. Not only did the Manx well and truly blitz the Ton mark [ 120mph ], but was pulling away from the following Goldie, much to Gordon’s displeasure ! Gordon claimed that he was just sitting at just over the Ton to check my progress ……… right.

Pretty pleased with the Manx’ performance and spurred on by Gordon’s whingeing and the lads pushing me – I issued a challenge there and then for the Crown ! Gordon cried off for that night, stating that he had not prepped his bike for a Crown challenge. OK – another night then ? So the dual was set for the following night.

Now here’s where the second set of procedures came into play – when issuing a challenge for the Crown – the challenger had the choice of Lay-Bye to start from. In this instance, the Manx stood a better chance starting off from the downhill Lay-Bye to take best advantage for the lack of initial acceleration, and the long swinging left hand bend where the Manx handling and brakes would start to tell. The same could be said for the Goldie, as they were notorious for getting off the line. Gordon was well aware of the shortcomings of the Goldie on acceleration – and opted to change his final gear ratio [ gearbox sprocket ] to increase his acceleration – as he thought, on the UPHILL stretch. Great – this played right into the strengths of the Manx, as Gordon was unaware until the night that I had opted for the downhill start – although Gordon would have the initial advantage [ ‘ish ] with his shorter gearing – I would be able to use the Manx’ superior top end grunt on the downhill leg being able to brake later - and then the crucial uphill stretch and into the short home straight after the Moby Dick roundabout. And that was about how it happened, with the Manx pulling 5-6 bike lengths as we passed the finish line.

It was shortly after this event we all decided that a nice plaque should be awarded to Ton Up club members to commemorate their achievement. Maurice [ of the Cemetery Tale fame ] was the obvious choice as he had access to the tool shop at Ford’s main Dagenham plant. Ford had a small oval plaque blank that they use for something or other, and Maurice managed to get his hands on a box-full [ around 100 ] and proceeded to get them engraved “Ton Up Club”.

It soon became obvious that a big single was not the tool for the job as they were initially outclassed on acceleration by the big twins – that would then hold that initial advantage to the end. So, I decided it was time for a change – and as I’d been into Tribsas for some time, I decided that was the way to go. My engine of choice was the 500 Grand Prix backed up with a BSA RRT2 gearbox. This was in fact the bike I’d developed for circuit racing, and what it gave away in capacity [ 150cc ] to the big twins, more than made up for in lightness and better braking – generally more nimble.

So this was the successor to the Manx and defended my Crown against all comers for 3 months - seeing off challenges from Bonnies, Rockets, CSRs and the odd Goldie.

Until Rocket George emerged with his Rocket Gold Star. This was a complete surprise, as he’d kept it to himself while continuing to ride his regular [ still quick ] Super Rocket And so it was we were all up a Ted’s one night and in pulled George with his new ride. At this time very few of us had even seen a real Rocket GS. It was a cracking tool, and it wasn’t long before the subject of “how quick” etc. came up – followed equally quickly by George issuing me a challenge for the Crown.

George chose the traditional uphill start as he knew his RGS would have the advantage on the final uphill drag – and it did !! Boy was that bike quick with gobs of torque. The 500 Tribsa was well and truly beaten – by around 8 bike lengths I recall [ damn ]. George was a gracious winner saying that “after all, his bike had 150cc more than the Tribsa”.

George kept the Crown for the remainder of 1962 – again defending against all comers – including a vicious Norvin [ more of this one later ! ] I even had one more go – and again failed – albeit by a smaller margin [ Tribsa now fitted with Amal TT carbs ].

Was I at all bothered by this ? You bet yer ass !!!! So in true stealth style – I bought the first of my ex. Bob Mac Connies. I had by this time got a “cooking” Connie as my everyday ride as the Tribsa had become impractical for road use.  I was immediately impressed by the grunt of the thing, it would pull like a train up to 70mph - 80mph – and then keep going ! OK, it didn’t handle nearly as well as the Tribsa and was bloody heavy – but that was just another set of challenges to sort out. It easily burst into the Ton Up club with a blast of 112 mph – bog standard. Not a bad starting point. It was soon put on a serious diet – 5 gallon Goldie tank [ alloy ], GRP AJS 7R seat, siamese pipes with Goldie silencer and binning heavyweight mudguards and associated squitter.  I’d just started collecting engine tuning parts – pistons, cams etc., and started work on a spare engine. Now then – brain fade assist. Does anyone remember a US cam maker with the name “Ravesi” or something similar. Their logo was a Roman chariot pulled by 2 horses.  They were unusual for the day being a Polydyne grind ?????????? While all this was going on – I had Phil Bishop build me a pair of Borrani rims onto the hubs, which in turn were lightened as far as practical by the judicious drilling of various holes.

This was about as far as I’d got when the first of the ex. Bob Mac bikes came up courtesy of my pal Ted Bloomfield [RIP]. The bike was as it last raced [ Thruxton ] and still had it’s scrutineering [ tech ] tags. That bike was effing quick …….. a genuine 128 mph [ timed at Thruxton ] with blinding acceleration to match. It was the obvious candidate to challenge George. The bike was a real sleeper as it didn’t look any different to a normal road going Connie.

Rumours were around that I was building a demon set of parts for my own Connie, but nobody knew about the Bob Mac bike ! So, when I threw down the challenge for George – he expected me to turn up on my roadgoing Connie that was in the process of being built as I rode – still with the stock motor.

Due to the Production Racing regs – there was not a great deal manufacturers or entrants could do beyond the standard showroom spec., so the Connie looked pretty well standard !! [ see pix from the day ]. I resisted the urge to fit the Alloy tank and seat I had stashed for my own Connie build and turned up on the night with a Connie that to all intents and purposes was a stocker ! George realized something was up on the first short leg up to the Moby Dick – the Connie was already 3-4 bike lengths ahead – that reduced somewhat due to the Rocket’s better handling on the roundabout – but I still held a 2 bike lead after we came out and onto the downhill stretch. That lead simply increased with every yard until I had pulled an 8 bike lead at the Gosnay’s roundabout. That was about where we’d finish up, with George well and truly beaten with no excuses. This time it was my turn to be gracious and admit that my extra 50cc advantage [ 650 vs 700  ] had obviously made the difference !!

Again the Connie resisted all comers for the next 3 months or so …… until THAT Norvin made a reappearance …………….

The Norvin made sporadic appearances at the Lay-Bye, but we never saw him at any of the Caffs we frequented. In fact he was a bit of a loner and unlike most of the lads, was difficult to strike up a conversation with. Eventually the ice was broken and it transpired that he had just gone through a messy divorce [ aged 23 ! ] and didn’t really feel like socializing. The bike was obviously bloody quick, and the ton-up club was a mere formality when he eventually decided to have a go. As he became more of a regular with us and the caffs, ultimately the talk got round to him going for the Crown. He really didn’t seem bothered, and I certainly wasn’t going to encourage him as it was one of the few bikes that would get anywhere near the Connie!

I carried on working on my own Connie project and even devised a method of strengthening the swing arm pivot area of the frame to stiffen it up. That dramatically improved the handling – and was such an obvious mod, you had to wonder whey the factory hadn’t done it ! I was convinced my own effort would eventually be quicker than the Bob Mac bike …………………… however, before I could get it finished – Vincent [ that WAS his name ! ] issued the challenge for the crown. This time we started from the normal uphill run, and by the time we got down to Gosnays we were pretty much even, but as we went round the big roundabout, the Norton chassis and brakes showed their pedigree and he pulled out 3 bike lengths by the time we got to the uphill drag. The Connie pulled him back to a mere bike length by the Moby Dick roundabout – but again, the Norton’s superior chassis [ and brakes ] gave him the edge and he again opened out a 3 bike lead which he held to the finish. Certainly not embarrassed, but I was determined to get the crown back !

So, work went on double-time on “my” Connie with the engine alone taking 2 week’s to prepare – every item was blueprinted and polished – the con-rods had a brighter shine than most people had on the outside of their engines! The bike was nearly finished, although I resisted the urge to rush anything. The Alloy Goldie tank ended up being highly polished, with the rest of the “tins” being painted in the traditional Constellation Burgundy – Looked the bollox. With my stiffened frame, I decided to fit race tyres, and a trip to my pal Tom Kirby bagged me a set of hardly run in Avon GP’s [ ex. Bill Ivy no less ! ]

By this time most of my pals knew about the Connie project, and weren’t at all surprised when I sold the ex. Bob Mac bike to one of the lads up the Lay-Bye.

Before all this took place I approached Vincent and told him I would be calling him out in a few weeks time with my “new” bike.

Vincent – still a bit of a loner – did accompany us on our weekly rides down to Southend and it was on one of these outings that Vincent had the run in with the Daimler Dart [ see “Crispy Daimler Dart” Tale ].

Then – he just disappeared from the scene for a couple of weeks – in fact disappeared full stop. None of us knew him that well, but one of the lads had been to his Mother’s house where he had gone back to live after his divorce.  Of course there was much piss taking that he was shitting himself at the thought of my upcoming challenge ! Eventually one of the lads said he was going in that general direction at the weekend and would call in to see him.

Well he soon wished he hadn’t – turned out Vincent had crashed his bike on a dead straight road into a bridge at around 100mph. It was never proved, but he was seriously depressed after his divorce and his Mother was convinced he’d crashed deliberately.

After that, the Lay-Bye Crown didn’t seem so important any more and as we couldn’t work out how to start over – we canned it [ end 1963 ].

RIP - Vincent mate.

Norvin - I've selected pictures which are as close to the owner's bikes as possible

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/norvin_zpsk11kq3vw.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/norvin_zpsk11kq3vw.jpg.html)

Rocket Gold Star - just like George's !

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/LesJosey1962RGS_zps3zbizfpd.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/LesJosey1962RGS_zps3zbizfpd.jpg.html)

Typical Tribsa - mine had no rear mudguard and a 7R seat - and the Grand Prix engine.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/tribsa_zps5fo4unyn.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/tribsa_zps5fo4unyn.jpg.html)

My actual Connie with Bob Mac aboard [ Thruxton ? ]

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/dhyrdty_zps65736c0f.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/dhyrdty_zps65736c0f.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on May 18, 2015, 11:53:16
A whale of a tale!   ;D

Thanks for sharing the high-speed pass down (and back) memory lane B.C.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on May 19, 2015, 04:06:20
Bloody good story mate. Was just the one I was waiting for!

That Tribsa is my wallpaper at the moment. Bit of a nice bike there.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 21, 2015, 04:57:18
Another sad footnote .......Dommie Dave just contacted me to say that George [ RGS of the Tales ] passed away last month after a long fight with Cancer ......... knowing George, I bet he gave it a hell of a run for it's money. RIP George, I'll always remember you blasting away from me up the Bye-Pass. :'(

Fuck me - not many of us left now !!!!!!  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on May 21, 2015, 06:36:15
Sad to hear mate. At least you are around to share memories of him and his antics to the world.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 21, 2015, 20:56:37
Sorry to hear about your friend BC...... you both, no doubt , shared some great times together.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 21, 2015, 21:32:50
BC, could you post some pics of the finished v-8 Jag ? It looks serious fast.......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 22, 2015, 05:27:07
BC, could you post some pics of the finished v-8 Jag ? It looks serious fast.......

Here's the finished car [ one of them ] - and yes, it IS bloody quick. The owner says it's as quick as the Cobra Realm made for him 6-7 years ago [ 302ci Ford ].

The second pic is the final p.o.c. mock up with my new front chassis design. At this point the exhausts were just made in house by the Realm guys to ensure everything fit and closed ! There was ONE INCH clearance between the top of the blower and the bonnet.

Yes, I was genuinely saddened to learn of George's passing. One good thing is that in my mind's eye - he will always be that dashing young RGS rider, as that was the last time I saw him [ almost 50 years ago ] and that's how I remember him.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cars%20123_zpst4n9jicd.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/cars%20123_zpst4n9jicd.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Picture%20023_zps9fzovmi8.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Picture%20023_zps9fzovmi8.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: ridesolo on May 22, 2015, 12:30:03
Stunning, breathtaking, amazing, awesome cars!  Wow!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 23, 2015, 14:11:18
As my tribute to George the last Tale before I go off for my Saxony summer chill break, will be the memory of one particular Summer night's ride out round the Caffs, in what I can only term "The Perfect Ride" ..... we all have one don't we ?
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 23, 2015, 19:23:10
That's the sad part of getting old.  We are at the age where our generation is starting to drop off.  The only consolation is that we had a good time before all the regulation BS came to the for.  Very sorry to hear about the passing of your friend. 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 24, 2015, 00:01:04
Hoof, fortunately many of us (including Shelby and myself) have taken advantage of the replacement parts available to extend our lives here on Earth so we can enjoy life a little longer. Science is a wonderful thing. BC, I look forward to your "Perfect Ride" and really love the V-8 Jag.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on May 24, 2015, 00:48:48
My knees are shot to hell.  Next month I go for stem cell treatment on them.  I'm not overly fired up about the slice and dice and stick a chunk of metal in.  That will be the last resort.  Give this a shot first.  I'm not done yet and damned if I'm going to let the knees finish me.  Yes science is a wonderful thing.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 25, 2015, 07:50:47
Keep me updated on the stem cell treatment. I have a friend who is on the waiting list for heart treatment.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Speedfreak on May 26, 2015, 14:40:50
It's sad to here your friend George past away, (may he rest in peace) wish you lots of strength to handle this loss.

We all want to get old, but nobody wants to be old.

Grts, Frank "Speedfreak"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 27, 2015, 05:37:13
So, I was just reading through the last Tale [ sad eh?] toget me in the right spirit for the "Perfect Ride" Tale, when I noticed a couple of terminal inexactitudes - that confused me, never mind anyone trying to make sense of it all !

A couple of fat finger typos and an omission [ "Gordon Goldie's" real handle ] - and what can only be described as a "senior moment".

A few peeps have asked what was my moniker in those days .................. well I had no allegiance to any one make of bike - just what was around and cheap to build ! SO the guys gave up after a series of Manx's, Tribsas, Tritons etc..... and just settled for "TJ".

So, the main inexactitude - I had in fact typed "uphill", when it should have been "downhill" when describing lifting the Crown from George. A simple error, but made that part of the story bollox !!!

Sorry peeps - if you were as confused as I was, please re-read it. I GUARANTEE it WILL make sense this time..

On the plus side, the next Tale is coming along nicely, albeit with a few moist droplets coming from the eyes.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on May 28, 2015, 00:10:50
 :).......
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on May 30, 2015, 17:07:01
Nearly done [ mid June latest ] again looking for suitable pix to accompany the Tale.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 05, 2015, 07:40:30
Here it is then, my tribute to Rocket George and Vincent .............

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day

“The Perfect Ride” …[  in memorium Rocket George ]     June 2015

This Tale was inspired by recent conversations with Dommie Dave and my recollections of Lay-Bye racing – and in particular Rocket George. Most peculiar – since the re-telling of the Lay-Bye racing Tale and the sad news about George – I have had some blindingly realistic dreams of events of that period – I mean ………….REALISTIC. Even down to details of conversation and actual riding events – almost willing this Tale to be told. Maybe George was subconciously telling me to get on with it !

This Tale takes place after I’d taken the crown back from George with my Bob Mac Connie up the Lay-Bye and AFTER Vincent had taken it away from me. It was during a period [ rare you say !! ] of a blistering hot and dry Summer – punctuated by infrequent thunderstorms. Day after day of perfect riding weather in the company of like minded pals.

By now my own Café Racer Connie was up and running, and was a true contender for the King of the Lay-Bye crown – but of course after Vincent’s passing we had no more interest in that activity. So we settled down to a series of rides [ “burn-ups” in media parlance ] from caff to caff in the late evenings / early morning.

We didn’t spend much time at the Lay-Bye either, and by 1964 that was a pale shadow of it’s former self. But here we were still in 1963 and the meeting place of choice was Ted’s Caff at Gallows Corner. This was pretty convenient for most of us – and was a good starting point for either a jaunt to Southend on Sea , or a tour of the rural North Essex Caffs.

On this particular occasion, the weather had been hot and balmy for a week, with not even a hint of rain. Most of us had met up at the Brands Wednesday practice day* – and a ride had been suggested for Friday night as a memorial for Vincent. The word went round to all the likely lads for a meet at 8.00pm at Ted’s. We kept the invites down to the “elders” group as it was obvious this particular meet WOULD end up in a burn-up or 6.

The icing on the cake was that the following weekend was a race meeting with the “Continental Sidecar Circus” in town. I still had a real soft spot for outfits, and confess I spent more time talking to the crews and watching them on track than I did sorting out the Connie ! That said, the Connie was pretty much there and it was just the new Amal TT carbs that needed some final fettling. Naturally there was some pretty exotic machinery there, but never the less, the Connie drew quite a crowd of enquirers. You may recall my antics overtaking a certain Derek Minter [ then gently binning it ] in a previous Tale? Well, he came over afterwards – I thought to give me a serious bollocking, but no – he was just interested in why the Connie was so quick ! He even helped me to set [ OK, HE set ] the TT’s up for me. Can’t buy that.

* Just by way of explanation here about my “Wednesdays Off” from work ……. The Electricity Board had to have working gang emergency cover for power failures [ mostly underground ] – and due to the aforementioned sketching / mapping requirements, a qualified Draughtsman had to be on call just in case. I immediately volunteered [ no opposition ! ] to be the guy on call [ usually once or twice a week ]. Due to my previous deal with the gangers – I used to collect the relevant sketches in the following morning before going into work ! I used to get a financial allowance just for being on call [ about 5% of my weekly salary ], and in the event of a “call out” I could choose an additional payment or TOIL [ Time off in Lieue ]. On the weeks I needed to go to Brands for testing – I chose TOIL !! A win win situation.

SO - here we are at the end of a perfect week - bike all ready and fettled or the upcoming ride and the Friday at work dragging like time has stood still.

Come 5 o’clock and I can’t get out of the place quick enough – back to my Nan’s and she’s done my favourite dinner - Liver, Mash [ potatoes ] and beans – the evening is getting off to a flying start.

The next hour or so is spent checking the bike over [ for the tenth time ! ] and giving it a final polish and going over all the alloy work with Solvol Autosol. Bonneville Bob calls round to give his bike a final check and polish and by 7.00pm we just can’t wait any longer – and we’re off.

“Hey Bob, let’s just take a steady ride up to the Lay-Bye before meeting the others at Ted’s” …………

“ TJ – no heroics OK, I’m up to my endorsement [ tickets ] max, and this Summer’s too good to miss out on”.


And with that, we set off at a steady [ and legal ] pace to the Lay-Bye. It’s really too early for the scene to be in full swing, but since we stopped going [ after Vincent’s  demise ] the place was attracting a younger and more cowboy element, that were far more interested in posing than doing any serious riding.

A quick side by side blast up and down the challenge route just to show the kids what REAL bikes were all about, and we split. Still far too early for the meeting at Ted’s, and far too nice to be sitting indoors, so we decided to take a quick detour to The Woodlands [ Owl ]. In real terms the caff was only 15 miles or so away from Romford – but could have been in another county ! No sooner than we rounded Gallows Corner [ where Ted’s was ] and a quick blast down a dead straight 2 mile road, and suddenly you’re in rural Essex – on the fringes of the South Weald National park and the ancient Epping Forest. The transition was as stark as it was sudden – and actively encouraged balls out riding.

Bob looked at me and with a thumbs up from both of us – we were off. This was the first time the Connie had been given any real beans on the narrow lanes – sure I’d taken it to Brands for a shakedown on the Wednesday, but the first mile or two was taken at less than max. The carbs set up by Minter were [ as you’d expect ] spot on – no hesitating or misses – just brutal power all the way up.

It was during this period  just before Passingford Bridge [ Fishing for Gold Stars Tale ] that Bob pulled out a good few bike lengths, but as my confidence in the new handling abiliites of the Connie grew, I easilly hauled him back. This was a section of the ride to the Woodlands that I really excelled on – just one of those roads you could ace. By the time I pulled into the Woodlands car park, I had about 100yds on Bob !! He was stunned by the Connie’s speed, and handling – always a weak point.

“ Fuck me TJ, what have you done to THAT” was all Bob could get out. He didn’t make any excuses. Misfires, brake fade or any one of the numerous excuses …………. He just flat out said he’d been well and truly beaten.

Again, really too early for the caff to get busy, so we contented ourselves with a pie and coffee, sitting outside under the verandah watching the local villagers go about their business. The two bikes were busy pinging and clicking as the engines cooled down, with a whiff of burnt castrol R in the air – ah life is good.

Then two young kids pulled in – one on a Golden Arrow and the other on an Enfield Crusader Sports. Both were the manufacturers’ lame attempts to claim the youth market, too little too late - RIP the British Bike industry. The kids just stood in awe looking at the two proper Café Racers, and took a while to draw up the courage to come over and start talking to us about our rides. One of them pulled a camera out and asked if he could take some pix. Soon they were sitting on the two bikes having pictures taken – well and truly smitten. One of the lads got up the courage to start asking some serious bike questions, and then out of the blue said “ Have you both got Vincents then” eying up the Vincent patch on the left breast of my leather jacket. As Bob and I looked at each other, it was only then we realised we BOTH had the same Vincent patch newly sewn onto our jackets. 

The next hour flashed by in a haze of nostalic tales, including of course the recent passing of Vincent. However, this ride was to be a memorial to Vincent – not a morbid wake, so with that, we took off back to Ted’s to meet up with the lads.

We both agreed to take it “steady” on the way back – and so it was, never exceeding 70mph until we got back to Ted’s. Even at 70 the lanes [ just wide enough for two cars to pass ] became very narrow and we both arrived at Ted’s with clumps of grass from the hedgerows on the footpegs.

When we pulled into the car park, Dommie Dave and Gordon Goldie were already there – yep you guessed – BOTH with Vincent patches sewn into their jackets. This was all done independantly and with no prior arrangement……………..

Rocket George and Brian Rocket were the next two to pull together - the Rockets making a glorious stereo fanfare as they came in. No cigar for guessing correct ! Yes, they had both made the same subconcious gesture. Some had chosen left breast, others left arm for the badge position – but the thought was most definitely there

Another pie [ !! ] and Coffee / Tea while we waited for any late comers, and by 9.00pm there was no sign of anyone else and we all posed for a group photo taken by Ted  [ caff owner ] – Vincent patches proudly on display. That photo had pride of place above the till [ cash register ] in the Caff for as long as I was going there. Where is it now ? We ALL had copies donated by Ted, but you all know what happened to MY pictorial memories of the 60’s - bitch.
We decided to do a round robin of the favourite Caffs, ending up back at the Woodlands [ Owl ]. We also decided that as this was somwewhat of a sombre occasion, we would have an orderly convoy with no individual burn ups. So we came to the agreement that Bob and Gordon would lead us out and down the main A127 to the real Blinking Owl [ ! ] near Southend. The convoy of 6 REAL Café Racers at a steady 100mph, riding two by two certainly drew some attention.
We even picked up a Police escort just before we got to the Owl, and imagine our surprise when the two coppers pulled in behind us. When they came over there was a real possibility of a round of fucks going their way – but no, they were just curious why we were “only” doing a ton and in an orderly manner. One of the cops in particular was a bit of a bike nut and was more interested in the bikes ! The conversation some got round to what we were all up to and  when we related the sad tale of Vincent, one of the two rozzers said he had heard of a Norvin and a certain Crispy Daimler Dart. “Yep, that was our boy” – “Any problems with that ?” What it did get us was a Police escort complete with Blues  and Twos back to Gallows corner with a smart salute before they returned to their patch.

From there it was another orderly convoy out to a Caff in rural Abridge, which forgive me [ brain / memory fade ] I can’t recall the name – but it was one Vincent liked. This time it was the two Rockets that headed the pack out and due to the nature of the lanes, we kept the speeds down to around 60 -70 mph. Once we left the busy arterial roads behind and joined the leafy lanes of rural Essex, we had a little more time for our own thoughts. The weather was playing ball, and we had a wonderfully warm moonlit night for our jaunt. We eventually pulled in to the Caff [ Treetops ? ], again causing quite a stir with the machinery. The guys there soon recognised us and our bikes with the distinctive “Ton Up” club ovals on our rear number plates [ Yea, she ditched that as well – DOUBLE BITCH ]. When we went up to the counter to get yet ANOTHER pie and coffee / tea – the owner’s Daughter  spotted all the Vincent patches and burst into tears ………………………… seems that Vincent had quite a thing going for her – probably why he liked the Caff so much !

We were totally unaware, but they had been seeing quite a bit of each other. Our money was no good for the rest of the stay there and when we went outside to leave, there was an avenue of bikes either side of our mounts – engines running, with their owners standing silently beside them. As we pulled out of the car park with Dave and myself leading out, there was the instant revving of 40 or so bikes ………… priceless moment.

THIS WAS THE FINAL RUN TO OUR  FAVOURITE CAFF – the Woodlands [ Note - NO fuckin Ace Café here ! ]

Another gentle run down familiar lanes alone with our individual thoughts. By the time we pulled into the Woodlands word had gone before [ remember – NO mobile phones ] and there was another avenue of bikes for us to drive through, right up to the verandah. Normally it was impossible to park here unless you got there real early – or were driving a Police Zed car [ see Tale !! ]. Again, our money was no good for the rest of the evening – yet more pies !!!

We had no real plans beyond calling into the Woodlands as the last stop, but it wasn’t long before others were asking if they could join the tribute run. So by the time the caff was ready to close up [ 1 am ‘ish ] we all decided to head out back to the Lay-Bye, where we’d first met Vincent. We explained that we wanted an orderly convoy with no heroics or accidents and we again set off on the final leg with Dave and George in the lead

Remarkably and considering there were over 50 bikes in the group – everyone was well behaved and stuck to the plan.

Bikes normally arrived at the Lay-Bye individually or in small groups, so we caused quite a stir when we all pulled in together. Word soon got round what it was all about and it wasn’t long before virtually every bike up there made a couple of passes up and down – maybe 200 or so bikes all in motion at the same time.

When things had calmed down the six of us decided we would do a balls out “Crown” run – but in fact we named the “Vincent Run” in Vincent’s honour. All the other riders were alerted to the fact that we wanted the Bye-Pass to ourselves as a final sign off tribute to Vincent and all agreed.

Now, it was impossible to get six bikes off side by side from the Lay-Byes, so we devised a plan whereby outriders would go to the two roundabouts and simply hold the traffic up by means of blocking the approach roads !!

So it was – around 2.00 am one of the finest biking memories I have, was born.

The six of us lined up across the dual carriageway and with a flag start [ actually some bird’s Tee shirt ] we were off [ dowhill start ].

George got the jump [ false start guvnor ] on us all and had 2 or 3 bike lengths 100yds out ………………..

–   but the Connie was gaining rapidly, into the fat part of the rev band in 1st and second, now then George me lad – I’ll take the wide entry into the curve as I hit third and cut across to the nearside apex . The engine is only lightly loaded as we have the downhill run and the engine was getting over it’s peak as third was selected just before the entry point for the wide sweep. George had opted for hugging the inner line and letting the RGS run out to obstruct MY line!! I had much more track time than George and was ready for that move – effectively a block pass ! So I just took my run at the left hand apex a little sooner, and the Connie’s superior grunt took me past on his inside – He wasn’t expecting that. We grinned at each other as we passed – George realising he’d been out manouvered. Short shifting into top and the lower gearbox sprocket I’d fitted really came into play and the Connie pulled the 2 tooth lower sprocket with ease and 100 yds or so before Gosnays I had opened up a 4 bike lead which it held all round the roundabout and off up the uphill leg. Into the roundabout with footpegs and “segs” ** scraping and a shower of sparks that brought applause and appreciation from the road blocking outriders. Behind us the boys were giving it beans, with Brian Rocket and Gordon just holding off Dave with Bob bringing up the rear – That Triumph frame REALLY did hinge in the middle, frightening the crap out of Bob and those around him on the downhill curve.Again, the Connie’s superior grunt hauled another 2-3 bike lengths out of the roundabout and although George did his best, he could never pull that lead back. The Connie was really pulling like a train through 2nd   – just seeing the magic ton in third before snicking into top just as the needle hit the red zone on the revcounter. The two Lay-Byes were offset, so you could in fact fly absolutely bollocks out past the downhill Lay-Bye [ on the opposite side ] before you started to brake as you passed the uphill one. As we passed the Lay-Byes - chin buried onto the tank and hugging the tank and bike with arms and legs the Connie was truly flat out. All the lads had their engines revving and headlights on as a salute as the two of us hurtled past at 125mph + –  another unforgettable moment.George tried his best to leave his braking until the last minute and entered the roundabout way too fast and nearly lost it as he tried to correct his mistake. Way too late – by now the Connie was on the final leg to the downhill Lay-Bye and passed it with 8-10 bike lengths on George.

** “Segs” were metal boot protectors that were nailed into the outside edge of the sole of your boots to save the leather when cornering hard.The sign of a hard rider were worn down and chamfered “segs”………some of the posers would grind them down on the bench for effect !!!! Nope, won’t find them mentioned on “Café Racer” either ………..

The winner was in the great scheme of things immaterial – but I’m proud to say that the Connie took the “Vincent Run” that night – seemed right somehow. And although there was no longer a “Crown” to be won, I had at least beaten George fair and square – in my mind at least, I had the “Crown “ back !!

Vincent and George, thinking of you – RIP mates.

THE ACTUAL PATCH

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THE BLINKING OWL [ SOUTHEND ]

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TED'S  GALLOWS CORNER

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CRUSADER SPORTS

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/re_1961_crusader_sports_250cc_b_zpsrkvixry1.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/re_1961_crusader_sports_250cc_b_zpsrkvixry1.jpg.html)

GOLDEN ARROW

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/13896_zpsi5cllnn8.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/13896_zpsi5cllnn8.jpg.html)

SOUTHEND PIER - THE LONGEST IN EUROPE [ 1 MILE ].

NOW THEN - SPOT PRIZE IF YOU CAN PUT TOGETHER THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THAT TRAIN AND CARROLL SHELBY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/post-5613-0-02341200-1386188270_thumb_zpslebtgg70.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/post-5613-0-02341200-1386188270_thumb_zpslebtgg70.jpg.html)

SOUTHEND ON SEA

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"SEGS"

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Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Jun 08, 2015, 20:29:49
Another interesting and exciting tale BC.  I loved it !!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 12, 2015, 05:29:39
No takers on the Southend Pier train and Carroll Shelby then ?????

And NO, not as simple as he rode on it !  ;)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Jun 12, 2015, 05:36:03
Ohhh I think I know this one! The train was built by AC!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 12, 2015, 06:23:46
Ohhh I think I know this one! The train was built by AC!

And Brodie gets the prize !!!!!!!!!!!!

I posed the same question to the Cobra [ replica ] Owner's Club here in the UK - after 2 months I had to tell them !

The trains were taken out of commission some 10 years or so ago, and are languishing in a breakers yard [ still intact 'ish ].

About 30 years ago the BBC [ television ] did a programme documentary on the pier and the trains. It was a fairly quiet midweek period [ Autumn / Fall ]. During the filming the camera zoomed in on a couple walking along the pedestrian way. As the train passed them the camera panned round for the front view there were my Mum and Dad taking in the sea air !!! When they arrived at the terminal, the film crew asked them if they'd be OK to be filmed on the train's return trip to the seafront to which they agreed.

Now if only I could get a copy of that .......................... [ in memoriam ]
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 24, 2015, 05:53:51
Six of the Tales have been revamped for "the Book" ........ I hope to have ALL the Tales sorted by the end of the year - then it's just finding the best way to publish / distribute. I'll get there.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Jun 24, 2015, 11:20:32

Now if only I could get a copy of that .......................... [ in memoriam ]

Hmmm  Could it be?...   http://www.britishpathe.com/video/southend-pier

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 24, 2015, 13:48:44
TAF,

many thanx for taking the time to research - regrettably not the film.

But get this, at the end of the film are shown [ deck chairs ] my Nan's next door neighbours !!!!

Chances of that ?

I think it was '73 /'74 'ish and was aTV documentary [ BBC / ITV ]
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Jun 28, 2015, 12:50:30
You, LF, are a master storyteller! How fortunate we are to have your recollections and experiences so eloquently shared on this forum.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: vibration on Jun 28, 2015, 13:27:07
Hats off to you...
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jun 28, 2015, 16:31:05
Yes indeed.  A big tip o' the hat to you BC.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/244/img0572un2.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/6simg0572un2j)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 29, 2015, 06:44:33
Gentlemen, gentlemen ......... I am not worthy  8)

I thank you for your kind words and especially from a fellow rider from the era [ Hoof ].

How cool is your pic with the lid Hoof .................. nonchalantly perched on top of a Manx Norton.

The various feedbacks keep my juices flowing to share as much as possible / relevant "from the day" as I then know I am indeed sharing with the new generation and they are enjoying the info.

Don't forget all you post Sixties guys - take and keep safe plenty of pictorial evidence - enjoy the hell out of our hobby. Don't take "no" and "oh you can't do that" advice, just go for it and YOU too will have your own ".................Tales" to relate in years to come.

The Tales are beginning to come to an end [ serious Tales that is ], just plain and simple - I've related all the good stuff already, maybe another 3 or 4 worthy of the telling.

Loads of little anectodal Tales along the way - like the time 10 or so of the "elders" rode naked down Southend Sea front, just for the craic.............................., or the time Maurice [ cemetery Tale ] stopped for a pee in minus God knows what on the way back from the first Dragon Rally and it wasn't until the next petrol stop he realised he's left his flies open and his wedding tackle had frozen to the tank. So we went inside and asked the waitress to come outside with a cup of warm water and pour it on the offending [ offensive ? ] object to release him ........ She was a good sport [ anyway Maurice was a BIG lad ] and even in minus whatever we could see his blushes as we lifted him gently off the bike so as not to leave any essential parts attached to the tank !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jun 29, 2015, 18:40:26
Gentlemen, gentlemen ......... I am not worthy  8)

I thank you for your kind words and especially from a fellow rider from the era [ Hoof ].


Worthy?  Most definitely !!   Great stories and memories from a period when fun was tolerated (more or less).   Each generation has its moments.  I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

The lid was bought for 37/6.   See who remembers that !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jun 30, 2015, 06:37:33
Worthy?  Most definitely !!   Great stories and memories from a period when fun was tolerated (more or less).   Each generation has its moments.  I thoroughly enjoyed mine.

The lid was bought for 37/6.   See who remembers that !

Hoof ......... these young whipersnappers will think that's the hat size or something !

Most [ all ? ] of my early day helmets were hand-me-downs or came with the bike.

However, after the sad demise of Don [ toppled over, hit head on kerb, instant death ] the very next day I went out and bought the then new "Everoak Racemaster". It was one of the first "jet" helmets in the UK and certainly the best - kid leather liner and plenty of padding !

By 1967 they were 59/6 - I think I paid 45 bob when I bought mine - or 2 pounds and five shillings.

All totally meaningless to our North American cousins !!! 12 pennies to the shilling - 20 shillings to a pound  .. won't even get into sovreigns, bushels and firkins and stuff !

The Racemaster was the helmet of choice for most of the racecar drivers of the day - Brabham, Clark, Salvadori ...........Moss stuck to his old puddin basin, and nearly died as a result.

Jim Clark's Racemaster recently sold at auction for just under $2000 [US ]


(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/cnfgjfjfjfj_zpslqsf2fyg.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/cnfgjfjfjfj_zpslqsf2fyg.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/KGrHqZo4FI5Nq08KzBSVCi0gow60_57_zpsj6gbkitu.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/KGrHqZo4FI5Nq08KzBSVCi0gow60_57_zpsj6gbkitu.jpg.html)




Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Hoofhearted on Jun 30, 2015, 19:17:12
I kind figured you would be about the only one who would know the price.  I (back then) never liked the "jet" helmet.  Why?  Because Hailwood didn't wear one!!  When I started riding I never wore a helmet because my Dad never wore one (Helmets were for racers.  His words.)  I had a friend who wore a helmet and was hit by a car.  Broken leg and collarbone and a big tire mark on the helmet but no head injuries.  When I told my Dad about that he gave me the money to bo buy a helmet.  Haven't been without one since.

When the full face came out the powers that be in Irish road racing were very quick to adopt it as compulsory.   Not a bad move.  Over the years of racing I have managed to destroy a few helmets.  Its when you see damage to the chin bar and face shield that you realize why you wear one.

What I used to hate was at each race meeting there was a helmet inspector.  If you dump it you have to bring your helmet to the inspector who examines it and makes a determination as to whether its done or not.  At one event I dropped it and my head skated along the ground and pretty well tore the helmet up.  As I was sitting in the medical center getting patched up the inspector came in.  Looked at me and asked if I was OK and picked up my helmet to have a look.  Then the sickening moment when he reached into his pocket and pulled out his pocket knife and cut the straps off.  It was his way of saying your helmet did its job and won't be used again.  To a person who was scratching by on 12 quid a week it was a disaster.  Beans on toast for a few weeks until you could save up to get another helmet.

On another forum a guy posted a picture of an old helmet and wondered what it was.  I found this ad from an old motorcycle mag I had.  A Centurion Top Jet.  One of my least liked helmets.

(http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/800x600q90/15/img345et4.jpg) (https://imageshack.com/i/0fimg345et4j)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 22, 2015, 05:29:39
The well is running a bit dry now folks ........................ I may well bow out with one last tale after I get back from my Summer break in Saxony, and then concentrate on upgrading all the Tales for "The Book".

I've had some happy memory jerkers as a result of telling the Tales . as well as some very sad reminders, some brought right up to date.

After hearing the news about George, I decided to make a real effort to contact those of us left still standing upright.

With that, I contacted Dommie Dave, who I know lives just round the corner in Cornwall from another of the old Essex crowd - Mickey "Carps" [ his "riding" name ].

Too late - again  :'(................................. I last visited Carps 20 years ago when I found myself in his neck of the woods. Bear in mind we hadn't made contact or seen each other since he left Dagenham in 1967 [ 'ish ] - almost 30 years previously. And to my shame I hadn't even spoken to him for at least 10 years - and now it's too late.

When Dave told me [ he'd called round to Carps' house ] I was shocked - then I thought, hang on -anyone riding from that era is now in their early 70's - 80's !!! :o

Maybe I won't even try to contact any of the others now - I'll just remember them as they were in those Golden early sixties - young guys, passionate about their bikes and riding for the hell of it -burning up the bye-pass and Cafe hopping through the night into the early Summer mornings.

Yea, that's it ............................................ 8) 8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Jul 22, 2015, 10:55:12
This has been a truly inspiring stroll through the memories of a few great men... and even you BC  ;)

I have taken the time to copy paste every story into a word document for a box of things like this that I've been stuffing for a few years.

I would like to be on the list of signed copy's (2ea. please, one for my son)... of the book when out in first draft... If you don't mind I could forward my contact/invoice to info to your inbox.

Best of luck to ya,
RD

Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 24, 2015, 06:07:43
I think an appropriate end to the season's Tales will be a tribute to Mickey Carps, maybe a few of the short anecdotes thrown in for good measure. 8)

Dommie Dave was back in our old neck of the woods [ Essex ] early this week on business, and while there caught up with a couple of his pals.

Turns out that our old mentor Joe Dennis [ and the guy responsible for getting the ex. Bob Mac Connies for me from Ted Bloomfield ] passed away a few years back. :'(

Joe was "an old guy" of 35 when we were mere whippersnappers in our early 20's.

He was a marine engineer in what has now become the fashionable part [ The Docklands ] of the old East End of London.

Apart from being responsible for putting the deals together for the Connies, he was a seriously good bike builder. Tritons were his passion and he built 4 or 5 of them - ALL with stock Norton running gear [ usually Dommie ] and ALL with my favourite 500 pre- unit motors. They even had stock position footpegs and ALL had "Vincent straights" bars. Don't get the idea these were just stock Dommies with a Triumph motor thrown in - they were stripped to the last nut and bolt and totally refurbished. Working with Marine parts - he always had boxes of stainless steel nuts and bolts, which he generously spread around his pals. With full machine shops at his disposal many of the specialised items we needed - engine plates, brackets and even engine bolts were turned up in stainless.

I learned a lot from Joe, especially the craft of doing things "properly" - if I made something not to his high standards - he'd make me do it over until it was !

I can still see Joe - Irvin flying jacket, DR boots, puddin' basin helmet with Mk 9's and with a roll up fag miraculously attached to his bottom lip - even when he spoke...... there's a whiff of Old Holborn in my memory banks

yep - nostalgia AIN'T what it used to be .........................................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: teazer on Jul 25, 2015, 12:55:43
Wideline and alloy T100 is a very sweet combo that eluded me.  I built a few 650s and T100s and the 500 single carb and a GP but somehow the alloy 500 still calls me.

My first lid was a pre-loved pudding basin and the first I bought was an Everoak jet and after that was the same type that Chas Dean at Motorcycle Mechanics used to use with leather inside.  I used it with bubble visor which was OK but distorted vision around the edges and then with different goggles over my glasses and of course a leather face mask - remember them?

This was my first bike and obviously it became a cafe racer.  Ports were opened up, clip ons, rear sets, alloy guards, home made (crap) seat, expansion chamber - some things never change....  And the jacket used to be my dad's and I died it black (was brown).  That was probably 68 or 69.

(http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h364/tz375/CCI02232015crop_zps8udrxhej.jpg)



Later came this T100 in a T5 frame IIRC,  High comp slipper pistons, Thruxton 650 crank with light flywheel (2mm longer stroke) :-)  and so on.  But someone stole the pipes.

(http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h364/tz375/sweptbacks_zpsgtpkf94k.jpg)


So I got other cheap pipes because I used it to commute 75 miles each way back then - must be where I lost the brain cells....

(http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h364/tz375/VPT677_May72_02_zpsxnx9s5aa.jpg)

It still had the GP /race kit inlet manifold chopped monoblocks, alternator and Capacitor (no battery), halogen headlamp and K2F magneto.  E3134 cams and 3059R followers and the tank was fuel in front and oil at the rear.   I tried a couple of tachos and they were inaccurate so I ended up with speedo and oil pressure gauge to keep an eye on the bottom end.
 
The guy I sold it to was hit by a car in Edinburgh, so he kept the motor and made it into a Triton.  He told me is twas way faster and sweeter than his mates Bonnies, so who am I to argue with a happy buyer.

BTW 47/6 sounds right form my first Jet style helmet but that was so long ago I can hardly remember. 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: teazer on Jul 25, 2015, 13:03:25
I built this unit 500 to replace the pre-unit, but seriously, it was so slow and soft it was a shame.  Nice example of period swept back pipes, Goldie style mufflers and seat/rear fender combo popular at the time.

(http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h364/tz375/unit500_zpsbe6mrgsh.jpg)

Beach - any photos from back in the day you could post?  I think yu said a prior Mrs B may have destroyed them - any of your old mates still got any?  Would be good to see what is still out there under the bed or in old shoe boxes in the attic etc.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: teazer on Jul 25, 2015, 13:08:23
thirty years later and still no sense.....

1965 CB160 just getting jetting and gearing right - not really racing it ;-)

(http://i1106.photobucket.com/albums/h364/tz375/4202_zpspbpmpcvv.jpg)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Jul 29, 2015, 05:53:58
Nice rides Teazer ............now "if only and all that" !  ;)

The ONLY few pix I have "from the day" have already been posted up - the Manx/Goldie with my then young Daughter [ now 48 ! ]. You're right about "old shoe boxes" etc. I KNOW I have a picture somehere of my Connie after it was Cafe Racered - an actual "action" shot taken by Dave Dueters - he of the collision on the way to a sprint meet. He was a very keen amateur photographer, who later went on to become professional and moved to South Africa. It was a sensational pic - along the lines of Tim's Canyon Carving shot with the XS650. I remember the pic vividly and it was taken on the Passingford Bridge bends. Somewhere in my loft !!!!!!   ::) There's another at the start line on my reverse head Triumph Sprint bike [ again taken by Dave ], and I also remember seeing one in the loft some 30 odd years ago of me at Brands with the Triumph Sitter outfit. Now then, if I sort out my library of close on 2000 books, various boxes of files and paperwork plus any other nooks and crannies - I might come accross them !  :-\

........................... So Dommie Dave was down in Essex again Monday, and finally a bit of pleasant news .......... Brian Rocket [ "Dommie Dave, Brian Rocket and the Norwegian Fish Canning Heiress" ] is alive and enjoying retirement with his family on a small farm in Norway.

The information is about 6 months old - but at least positive. Dave's trying to track down contact details ..................... now that WOULD be aome sort of a reunion - as long as they don't play the "Vikings" Theme !
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Aug 16, 2015, 07:43:43
I'm off for my Summer in Saxony chill break - I'll be AWOL for a few weeks now, planned return on the 2nd Sept. when I will have the framework for the Mickey Carps [ last Tale - at least for this year ] drafted out

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/reichenau%20apr%202013%20010_zpslqc03dt7.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/reichenau%20apr%202013%20010_zpslqc03dt7.jpg.html)

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/reichenau%20apr%202013%20047_zpstlgkfwbq.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/reichenau%20apr%202013%20047_zpstlgkfwbq.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 04, 2015, 06:05:17
Chill break over .... back to reality. Mid to high 30 degrees with clear blue skies in Saxony - back to rain and 15 degrees in the UK .................   ::)

Plenty of time to relax and mull over the Mickey Carps tribute Tale. Strange to relate that it took me a while to remember exactly how I came into contact with Carps [ almost 55 years ago ], but then it came back - along with some quite vivid memories of that period in my life - made all the richer for knowing Mick.

3 - 4 weeks should do it .........................  8)


Chilling on the beer terrace

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20113_zpsyweqluim.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20113_zpsyweqluim.jpg.html)

MrsB sheltering from 40 degrees of Saxony sunshine

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20112_zps5wcvzqhx.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20112_zps5wcvzqhx.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: stroker crazy on Sep 04, 2015, 06:14:21
Chill break over .... back to reality.

Reality … is it really necessary?

Crazy
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Sep 04, 2015, 08:45:17

Chilling on the beer terrace

I have renamed my patio... "Beer Terrace" it is now, and so much more appropriate :o
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 04, 2015, 12:59:39
I have renamed my patio... "Beer Terrace" it is now, and so much more appropriate :o

Not just beer !!!!!! We have a Pig Roast every year - this pic was taken during the village Oktoberfest [ hence the coats ] a few years back with best "Galloway" beef from my pal's farm.

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/reichenau%202014%20099_zpstvbwvwqz.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/reichenau%202014%20099_zpstvbwvwqz.jpg.html)

Note the "designer" table - an old door from the cellar, balanced on some empty beer kegs - couldn't buy it...........

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/reichenau%20apr%202013%20100_zpsoje1vzqa.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/reichenau%20apr%202013%20100_zpsoje1vzqa.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Sep 04, 2015, 13:05:57
Looks wonderful that beef nice and rare... Damn m ready for lunch now. Looks like 50 pound per plate was the price of admission... Haah!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: 4eyes on Sep 04, 2015, 16:02:55
I bet you would get along well with my buddy "Piggy Pete".  ;)

http://alt.roedale.de/epages/kontakt.htm (http://alt.roedale.de/epages/kontakt.htm)

IDK if you fly or drive to and from Saxony, but it may be worth the trip.  8)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 05, 2015, 04:44:41
Looks wonderful that beef nice and rare... Damn m ready for lunch now. Looks like 50 pound per plate was the price of admission... Haah!

Actually novelty serviettes !

4 eyes - sometime drive, mostly fly and my pal collects us from the airport. That said, we do tend to roam around once we've arrived and chilled out. This time my pal took us to a whistle stop tour of Switzerland [ Zurich - drop some components off ], off to his folks for a quick visit [ Basel ] then off to Alsace to visit his wine supplier where we stayed for a few days at his vineyard where we were forced to taste all sorts of wonderful and rare wines - back via Strasburg to collect Frogs Legs and cheese [ for his pal's restaurant back in Saxony ] and back to the ranch - 2000 kms round trip.


Sheltering from the 44 degree heat at my pal's Alsace vineyard

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20021_zpswqu4rxyp.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20021_zpswqu4rxyp.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 09, 2015, 12:27:39
Tale coming along nicely now - a couple of weeks and we're done.

Mrs.B with my pal Guenter in Alsace last week testing one of SIX different beers on the day !!  :o

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20067_zpsy17gf1bj.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Reichenau%20AUgust%202015%20067_zpsy17gf1bj.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 16, 2015, 06:27:08
A couple of weeks now - Tale virtually finished, just looking for some suitable period pix to accompany it. ;D
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Sep 16, 2015, 08:42:29
I think Mrs. B would like it if you filled that beer glass first ;) But on the edge of my seat here.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 16, 2015, 10:19:55
I think Mrs. B would like it if you filled that beer glass first ;) But on the edge of my seat here.

Actually the look on her face is "OMG - not another one" !  This was the third different jug [ all different beers ] and with each new beer you got a fresh glass. Three more to go after this one.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 22, 2015, 07:35:20
So here we are then peeps then I'm off to retirement / semi-retirement, don't want to outstay my welcome hereabouts.

Beachcomber’s Tales from the Day [ Final Tale – Maybe ] September 2015

For Micky Carps – and all I have known”

I have just had chance to reflect on Mick and all things past on my recent chill break to Saxony. The break was really conducive to some deep thought ….. perfect weather [ 30 – 40 degrees C ], excellent food and drink and the company of some good pals – not to mention Mrs.B !

Initially there were a flood of random memories of the period, but after a day or two – events moved into sharp focus, and I was almost back there ……. No doubt aided by the odd Schnapps or 6.

I just could not put my finger on exactly how and when I met Mick and how our friendship grew. Eventually I recalled………………….

I was in the process of looking for a couple of Triumph engines – a 650 for a bike I was building for a pal [ Tribsa ], and a 500 for myself – ideally I was trying to track down the 500GP parts – or ex. RAF stationary generators as we knew them ! Mick was an apprenticed mechanic at a local Romford Vauxhall [ GM ] car dealers and I’d been pointed in his direction by my pal Maurice as a likely source for the engines I needed.

I had fully expected him to be one of the Café Racer guys, but was I in for a surprise when I met him. In fact I was fully expecting to meet up with him up the Lay-Bye or one of the local Caffs we frequented. In the end I went along to the garage he worked at, and due to the hierachy of the day – I was NOT allowed to see him during “working hours” so had to wait around until his lunch break. I was greeted by a slightly balding [ but well Brylcreemed ! ] guy in overalls [ 4 or 5 years older than myself ], and I’m sure Mick would laugh out loud if I now described him as “slightly overweight for his height”. Not yer archetypal Café Racer. In fact he was no such thing ………. Mick was an old fashioned bike enthusiast who had grown up post War with a bike as his only means of transport – come rain or shine. I told him what I was after and he said he could help and I should visit him at his parent’s house that weekend.

When I arrived, I was greeted by the sight of a pristine [ and almost new ] Tiger 100 outside his house and a rather ratty Blue TonTen parked a little further along. Yep the TonTen was Carps’ bike ! The T100 belonged to his elder Brother John – some 15 years older than Mick.

A typical terraced Dagenham house – not unlike my Nan’s, but he did have the benefit of access to the rear via an allotment that backed on to the house. It occurs to me that many of the non UK peeps might be confused by “allotment”. These were patches of ground – usually in urban areas – that had been given over to the production of fuit and veg during the War years. These were owned by the local council and ordinary householders could apply for a patch for their own use. At the time they were very popular and the waiting list for a suitable allotment was a case of waiting for someone to die off and hope that their children didn’t want to take it over !

I was taken through the house out to the back yard, where I was surprised to find quite a large garden with an Aviary and worksheds all along one side for the length of the garden ! Mick’s workshop was at the far end – and next to the access via the allotment. Once inside the converted Aviary, the scene couldn’t have been more different. All the interior walls were clad in timber and faced with the then new fangled “Formica”. In distinct contrast to Mick [ still dressed in his mechanic’s overalls ] – the interior was clean and well laid out – very clinical.  The timber and “Formica” were courtesy of brother John who was working as a builder in the post war race to build cheap affordable housing. But the next shed was where I wanted to be – as I walked past I saw several metal storage shelves with 10 or so Triumph engines  and parts ! Mick had managed to get his hands on several ex RAF gennies courtesy of his big brother John who had been in the RAF during the war serving as ground crew. Mick agreed to sell me two sets of the GP cylinders and heads, together with a good 650 unit for my pal’s bike. Although Mick [ and his Brother ] didn’t own a car – his Father did – a Ford Anglia 100E. Hid Dad worked at Ford’s plant in Dagenham as a sprayer and had taken advantage of the employee purchase scheme to get the Anglia. His Father took me under his wing and showed me the art of painting – many of my bikes going through the shed passing the “spray booth” on the way !

So the Triumph parts were loaded in the boot and Mick dropped them off at my Nan’s ……………..so, that’s how we met.

Mick was NOT in the same mind set us the rest of us Café Racers, neither was he a “club” person, preferring to go out on his own for a blast round the Essex countryside. As our friendship grew, he did accompany us to the Caffs and occassional weekend outings [ see “Disastrous Day Out at Duxford” Tale ].                   His bike was deceptively quick, but the evil Triumph “hinged in the middle” frame saw him avoiding any real meaningful burn-ups. He did enjoy a good reputation for building quick Triumph engines for his mates, but avoided any commercialism to sell to all and sundry. Then one day came the news that Mick had been nerfed off his bike by a drunk driver and was in hospital with a broken leg.  The outcome of this was that Mick ended up with a permanent leg / ankle displacement, and as a result couldn’t ride a solo any more. No that didn’t deter him ……….. the insurance paid out handsomely allowing him to invest in an almost new Bonneville / Monza outfit. It was a couple of rides out on this plot that got me into sidecars as a serious means of fun !

This was also the occassion that I last worked with Mick on an engine. He decided that the Bonnie lump could do with some improvement. With that we pulled the engine and replaced it with the old TonTen engine from his written off bike so that the outfit was still a runner – all done on a Saturday afternoon ! I had become quite useful at porting and blueprinting heads – so that was entrusted to me while Mick pulled the bottom end apart to work on that. Just as well we did – we were both surprised at the relevant lack of poke from the Bonnie – reinforced by the fact that the temporary TonTen replacement was noticeably quicker. When we got into the bottom end we discovered that the engine had been fitted [ FROM NEW ] with normal cam followers rather than the 3059R units designed to work with the E3134 cams. Slight digression – there were in fact TWO versions of the E3134, one made by the factory [?] and one supplied by Tricor. The Tricor version gave a slightly different cam timing – and was deemed to be “the one” – if you could find them – digression over.

This mismatch had the effect of rounding off the cam lobes and reducing the power considerably! Additionally there was a lot of metal debris in the engine. After a round of fucks, Mick just said “Oh well” and decided to rebuild. However, I decided we should take it further and I contacted Triumph direct to tell them what we thought. I was well known to Triumph’s competition department via my efforts with the 500GP motors – they thought I was some sort of major engine tuner with all these 500GPs ….. little realising that they were ex RAF gennie lumps ! They sent one of their engineer reps along to meet us at the local Triumph dealers where Mick had bought the outfit. We were asked to bring the offending parts along for inspection. It only took the engineer minutes to confirm the error and having checked and confirmed the build date etc. via the engine numbers agreed that they were at fault. He asked if we would keep it to ourselves – especially with my contacts amongst the racing fraternity [?]. “Well that all depends” quoth Beachcomber – “How about this” responded the engineer pointing to a BRAND NEW Bonnie lump ! He insisted on keeping the cams and followers, but said we could keep the rest of the motor. Mick was so pleased that he promptly gave me the remains of the damaged Bonnie lump…………

Around this time Mick started to get serious with a young lady of his acquaintance [ later to become his lifelong Wife ], and we saw less and less of him.

Then – double jeopardy, he was AGAIN hit by a drunk driver and ended up back in hospital, this time with a severely shattered hip and pelvis, broken collarbone AND a punctured lung courtesy of a broken rib. Naturally we all went along to visit [ and create mayhem in the wards ], and were not at all surprised when on one visit we spotted BMW sales brochures all over his bed ! His girlfriend [ by this time fiancee ] was not at all happy and wanted him to get a car with the insurance payout. In the end, Mick got his way.

After he got out there was a long period of rehab, when he effctively had to learn to walk again – surgery back then is NOT at all that we expect today. Again we lost contact for a while, then one day a brand new BMW R60 / Steib outfit rolled into the lay-bye – yes Mick again !

By this time his Brother John and his new Wife had moved back to Cornwall where his parents had come from pre-War. Mick was also now engaged, and had several visits to John’s new Cornish home, so it was no surprise when he announced that he was getting married and going off to live in Cornwall.

In preparation Mick was selling off all sorts of tools, equipment and more importantly – his stash of Triumph engines and spares. He gave me first crack at the engines and I managed to scrape enough cash together to buy everything except a couple of old iron T’Bird engines. This included the remainder of his generator set GPs – 3 in all. By this time I was in my own accomodation and had the good old race transporter which meant that moving the stuff was no problem.

Mick’s final days in Dagenham were a whirlwind of visiting caffs and the Lay-Bye to say his goodbyes – but he refused any sort of farewell party and slipped away to Cornwall in the end suddenly and without fanfare.

I made Mick’s acquaintance again some 30 years later after I had written an article about one of my Bob Mac Connies for a Motorcycle magazine which he read. He contacted the magazine stating our previous friendship, and they passed his address on to me. I visited him in Cornwall a couple of times in the next  few years. He was in very poor health and no longer had a bike – in fact he’d gone back to his hobby of birds [ feathered type ] and had built a huge Aviary in his garden.

We kept in sporadic touch, until eventually even that contact dried up – something I now deeply regret………….

This could have been Carps' Ton Ten - certainly ratty enough !

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Triumph20T11020For20Sale20ebay20Nov202011_zpss1yhlbp6.gif) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Triumph20T11020For20Sale20ebay20Nov202011_zpss1yhlbp6.gif.html)

And this is a dead ringer for his R60 outfit

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/663592_zpsaykjtp5q.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/663592_zpsaykjtp5q.jpg.html)

And here's a 100E Anglia from the period

(http://i1213.photobucket.com/albums/cc472/manfredvonheyda/Anglia_zps6vtlyozf.jpg) (http://s1213.photobucket.com/user/manfredvonheyda/media/Anglia_zps6vtlyozf.jpg.html)
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: ridesolo on Sep 22, 2015, 10:39:48
Great story!  Thank you.

I understand the time and effort you have put into your Tales and so also appreciate your reluctance to continue.  I, for one, and I know many others here have appreciated your efforts, hope you will continue to "put pen to paper" as the mood and memories come up and continue your Tales from the day.   
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 25, 2015, 13:43:55
Great story!  Thank you.

I understand the time and effort you have put into your Tales and so also appreciate your reluctance to continue.  I, for one, and I know many others here have appreciated your efforts, hope you will continue to "put pen to paper" as the mood and memories come up and continue your Tales from the day.   


Glad you like them ............... it's not a reluctance to continue, in fact I have had a blast reliving those memories - it's more a case of having run the well dry .................... 'ish.

There's a few more probably worth the telling, and every so often an event swims accross my memory banks. As and when I think there's a good one, I WILL be back ................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Sep 25, 2015, 21:01:11
Cheers for all the stories TJ, I have really enjoyed reading them. Took me a few days to get through the last one with all of life's distractions.

Looking forward to getting my hands on a hard copy!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 26, 2015, 04:51:45
Cheers for all the stories TJ, I have really enjoyed reading them. Took me a few days to get through the last one with all of life's distractions.

Looking forward to getting my hands on a hard copy!

That's my next mission Brodie .... the book.

I'm going through the tales one by one and adding a few details along the way.

I have a bit of a dilema though ....... the language. It is written in language of the day, and somehow I think some of the flavour of the era would be lost if I toned it down........................... thoughts.

I'm also looking for suitable pix to accompany the various tales, as I've been doing recently - not my pix of course, but we all know the reason for that!

 
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Brodie on Sep 26, 2015, 06:19:34
How about a glossary in the back so folks can just look up the words they don't know.

I would be more than happy to pre-purchase the book if it comes down to needing funding to publish!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Sep 26, 2015, 11:41:31
How about a glossary in the back so folks can just look up the words they don't know.

I would be more than happy to pre-purchase the book if it comes down to needing funding to publish!

Brodie ......... I was thinking more about the "fucking bollox".

Thanx for the kind offer = hopefully won't be an issue closer to the time.

I reiterate - any of my DTT pals who want a copy will be personally signed.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 15, 2015, 05:40:24
I'd just spent a whole week going back through the Tales and putting them in some sort of order ready for final drafting and finding accompanying pix - when .......... Dommie Dave called and said he would be passing through and could he stay over.

Somewhere amongst the alcohol fueled Rose tinted nostalgia fest he reminded me of a few more events from the day. A couple were ones I'd already contemplated for a "mini-Tale", but Dave fleshed out my memories with some events that I'd forgotten, which means a full length version is now on the cards.

So - there will be a few more bike related Tales - probably around or after Christmas.

In the meantime, for anyone ineterested enough - I'll be going back over the existing tales and adding relevant pix where appropriate.

The "book" continues to be worked on, I'll be putting the feelers out soon for suitable publishers.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Oct 15, 2015, 08:18:38
Sure would be neat to have a book signing/beer tasting event, I would have to consider taking the wife over for that European tour she's been goin on about for 25 years :o
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Oct 15, 2015, 10:35:58
Well what would be cool would be if we could fly you and Mrs. B to barbor next year.  I know that the Dtt community would all throw a few $ in the pot to get you there, I know one of the locals would loan you 2 wheels for the weekend and I think that would be an awesome way to do a book signing, at Ace corner.  If it is at all possible I know Tim could help coordinate it.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 15, 2015, 11:04:40
Well what would be cool would be if we could fly you and Mrs. B to barbor next year.  I know that the Dtt community would all throw a few $ in the pot to get you there, I know one of the locals would loan you 2 wheels for the weekend and I think that would be an awesome way to do a book signing, at Ace corner.  If it is at all possible I know Tim could help coordinate it.

That's a very kind thought  ................. I'm working on the book with some relish now, even I was interested in reading some of the Tales !!

TAF - Maybe we could have an open house weekend in Saxony - or UK next year ..........

Publishers will no doubt be a major P.I.T.A. - but we will overcome.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Oct 15, 2015, 11:41:03
Keep Logan in the picture.  He was excited to get it made when talk first started on a book.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 15, 2015, 18:26:00
Keep Logan in the picture.  He was excited to get it made when talk first started on a book.

I lost Logan's contact details when my PC crashed last year - can you put us back in touch please ?

Maybe we can keep it among my DTT cousins.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Oct 15, 2015, 18:37:21
Giant robo co. Is his Dtt name.  I have his phone number I think and I'll pm it to you if I do.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 15, 2015, 18:56:29
Giant robo co. Is his Dtt name.  I have his phone number I think and I'll pm it to you if I do.

Thanx for that
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Oct 15, 2015, 19:38:35
I texted kiley to get his number. I'll pm it as soon as he replies
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 22, 2015, 08:56:39
I texted kiley to get his number. I'll pm it as soon as he replies

Thanx for that ... what time zone is he in ??? Don't want to get him out of bed !!!!!
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Maritime on Oct 22, 2015, 10:09:22
Kentucky so EST?  I am AST 10 am here now so he is either 9 am or 8 am. I'd have to Google their time zone
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 22, 2015, 17:11:30
Kentucky so EST?  I am AST 10 am here now so he is either 9 am or 8 am. I'd have to Google their time zone

Thanx - I can figure it out from that info.

TJ
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: dewjantim on Oct 22, 2015, 18:12:34
Well what would be cool would be if we could fly you and Mrs. B to barbor next year.  I know that the Dtt community would all throw a few $ in the pot to get you there, I know one of the locals would loan you 2 wheels for the weekend and I think that would be an awesome way to do a book signing, at Ace corner.  If it is at all possible I know Tim could help coordinate it.
I will second that Maritime. I can contribute some cash and a couple of bikes for Mr. and Mrs. B to ride while they are here........
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Oct 30, 2015, 07:01:32
I will second that Maritime. I can contribute some cash and a couple of bikes for Mr. and Mrs. B to ride while they are here........

You're all far too kind .........................................
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 03, 2015, 05:47:16
So, in between dealing with close family health issues, fixing the leak on my garage roof [ unsuccessfully ], and various other distractions - there WILL be a final Tale before Christmas.

This one again prompted by a conversation I had with Dommie Dave - which went on until the wee small hours ............ 8)

"Tribsas, Tritons, Tricatis, Norbsas and a Conbirdza [ no cheating, figure it out before you read ] and many more - Specials I have built and loved"
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 12, 2015, 04:44:02
Tale now completed ................ just searching for some appropriate pix to go with it.

Early next week.
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: Tune-A-Fish© on Dec 12, 2015, 09:02:54
Tale now completed ................ just searching for some appropriate pix to go with it.

Early next week.

The suspense is a killer mang :o
Title: Re: Beachcomber's Tales from the day
Post by: beachcomber on Dec 14, 2015, 10:57:14
Well here it is guys - the Christmas 2015 Tale, and probably the last for a while. I hope you've all enjoyed my trips down memory lane with me - time to get working on that Coffee Table book !

BEACHCOMBER’S TALES FROM THE DAY – the last for a while

“Tritons, Tribsas, Tricatis ……Conbirdza [ ??? ]  -  Specials I have built and loved”      December 2015

This one’s a general Tale, brought about after a late night / early morning session with Dommie Dave when he came to visit a couple of months back.

We were discussing the current price of British bikes from the ‘50’s and ‘60’s and inevitably there came the Rose Tinted    -  “in my day you could buy one of those for the price of a pint” ……………. Well almost. ::)

Dave was one of those riders from the day that stuck loyally to one brand – and in his case, one model [ no prizes for guessing which one ]. That’s not to say that Dave left them as they came off the showroom floor, at one stage we had a good deal going modifying Dommies for road and track for other people. We even ended up with a shed full of unwanted Dommie engines that had been replaced with Triumph’s finest, and to a lesser extent – BSA [ twins and Singles – Goldie specific ].

I had a 500 Dommie twin for a while which was bought for the basis of a Triton, but it was such a sweet engine that I left it in the frame and simply modified the running gear into Café Racer trim. It was never going to challenge for top honours up the Lay-Bye, but it was such a nice bike I rode it around for a few months until someone ordered up a Triton. In reality, the 500 twin was probably a nicer unit that the equivalent Triumph, but then there was the lure of the extra “big” capacity of the 650s which meant that most Dommie 500s were removed and discarded for next to nothing, even the 600’s weren’t considered as competition for the 650 Triumphs and BSAs – no doubt why they [ Norton ] rolled out the 650 Dommie to compete directly [ at least on paper ].

In the day the nomenclature was quite specific [ OK, the pigeon holing ] – Dave’s bikes would be considered Café Racer’s, whilst the various Tribsa / Triton’s etc. were primarilly known as “Specials”. That said - I DON’T RECALL ANY OF THE SPECIALS BEING BUILT AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN A CAFE RACER ! That is, apart from Sidecar outfits ………… we won’t go there in this tale.

I built several Tritons for myself [ maybe 3-4 ], but in reality I preferred the ergonomics of the BSA chassis. I always felt as if I was perched on top of the Norton, whilst you sat “in” the BSA frame. I never kept any of the Tritons for long as they were built primarily to sell on.

During the early ‘60’s you were pretty well on your own for things like engine plates, whilst all the dress up items were readilly available from track bikes and one or two specialist outlets. I do have  a bit of memory fade here, but I’m pretty certain that places like Unity Equipe, Dunstall, and Dresda didn’t come to the fore until ’63 or thereabouts. There were of course the race orientated shops like Tom Kirby’s who could supply you with most parts like clip-ons, race fairings, tanks, seats, etc. I remember buying my first set of Clip-Ons from Vale Onslow in Birmingham in 1960 ……the shop is still there, stuck in a 1950’s time warp! The old man Onslow [ Len ] – RIP -  was still riding bikes at age 100 ….. hope for me yet. ;)

Dave and I had a good thing going for a while with the Tritons, with more than a few of the unwanted Dommie engines coming my way for headwork and blueprinting before being sold on as a turnkey packages to various Dommie enthusiasts. There was also a pretty active group busy swapping out various mundane singles [ BSA, Norton ] and replacing the engines with twins from the same manufacturer. For instance – many ES2 and Model 50 singles would end up with Dommie motors – B31s and B33s with Rocket / A7 motors, etc. For a time Dave and I were buying up Norton singles for both Triton and Dommie conversions.

Before Tritons became a “must have fashion item” in the late 60’s – the variety of parts and finishes was limitless. For a start there was gearbox choice – OEM Triumph, Norton [ preferred for it’s clutch ] and BSA’s RRT2 close ratio version. All then required their own particular chaincase / engine plates arrangement and later still there was the choice of dynamo / alternator / and even later -  Unit engines.  This was still in the days before you could simply order all the stuff you needed from a specialist – or fast forward to today – when you simply put a shopping list together and strike up the computer to our good friends E-Bay / Google ! How deep are your pockets ?

There was even a good supply of alternate seats, tanks [ not a Mojave tank in site ], rear sets and other essential parts. BSA must have supplied most of the headlamp brackets [ tubular ] for the Café Racers of ANY persuasion – available off the shelf [ or breakers ] from the Goldie and later RGS models. This was before the fork mounted flat perforated models became the vogue [ still going ]. They were a mid to late 60’s item – no doubt as a result of fewer and fewer BSA uits being available !

So my particular favourite Triton ? ……….. that was based on a 500 ES2 single, bought for £20 and the engine sold on to a sidecar guy for £10. The engine was from a Ton Ten with a Bonnie head and the obligatory 3134’s, etc.. The box was taken from the ES2 donor, and ran with an open primary cover. Swept back pipes and Goldie silencers, 5 gallon Manx alloy tank and Manx seat completed the picture – and it was at that point I realised I was joining the “let’s all be different together” club !! I pulled into Ted’s one night, and in the car park were 2 other identical Triton’s, even down to the colourways. I sold the bike within a week.

 
The same could be said for my particular favourite – the Tribsa. One of the sweetest Trbisas [ and the one I kept the longest ] had a Triumph 500 Grand Prix engine [ ex. generator ] with all of the competition departments’s best inside and attached. Running through and RRT2 box with a race style open primary chain guard. Initially this one had a Goldie 9” front brake, but when the bike later was converted for track use – I fitted Manx wheels / hubs / brakes back and front. All my Tribsas featured a slight tilt forward of the engine and a specific balance factor for the engine internals. This bike would stick with all but the fastest up the Lay-Bye [ see various Tales ] and was even then, one of the quickest up to  the magic Ton. This was the bike that featured in another Tale when - upon the advice of the Triumph Comps department – I ditched the Goldie silencers and came up with a pair of straight through pipes 37 ¾” long. They had assumed that given the engine specs I sent them, the bike was to be used on the race track ! That measurement of 37 ¾” is from the centre of the exhaust valve head to the tip of the exhaust pipe – and works just as well today as a starter for 10 on ANY 4 stroke engine. Longer, shorter, megaphones, etc.,etc. all give differing power delivery characteristics.

Again as with the Norton – a great variety of tanks and seats were available, although the Goldie 5 gallon tank [ the Mojave of the day ] was probably favourite. I’m pretty sure that BSA were the first roadgoing bike to offer a central oil tank [ Goldie ], although Norton had pipped them with that style on the various Manxes’ . Seats were a bit more open for choice and my particular favourite was the long back AJS 7R / Matchless G50 version. I STILL have one of my 7R seats from the day [ ! ] – albeit recovered a few years back, and that will see future service on the Vindicator TR1 Café Racer. Wow, that’s seat’s 50 years old …………………….. and has a few Tales of it’s own ! 8)

That bike was certainly my favourite Tribsa, although there were a few others that came close, including a mightilly quick Bonnie engined version in a Goldie’ised B33 chassis. In the early 60’s, BSA’s humble B31 [ 350cc ] and B33 [ 500cc ] sloggers were the donor of choice. To give a rough comparison – a 500cc Goldie would be around £300 [ and now - £30,000 ? ] whilst a B33 would be around £10 - £20 !!!!! Incidentally – that same B33 would be around £2000 + today as a ratty runner.

The Trifield was my next foray into “let’s try to be original here”. Remember “Dangerous Roy”, and the Tale of how I came to be given his RE Crusader ? Well, the bike wasn’t really me and when another of the Lay-Bye guys blew his Enfield Sports engine all over the road, I instantly did a deal with him. I swapped Roy’s old Crusader for his wrecked bike and a wadge of cash. I had no idea at the time what I might do with the remains [ break ? ], but the deal involved instant cash on the hip. In the event I removed the remains of the blown engine and swapped the gearbox and other remnants for a good Triumph unit 350 lump complete as removed from a running [ wrecked ] bike. Fate is taking a hand here………….

When the engine was delivered I simply threw it in the pile under a tarp in the garden – the engine settling nicely under the Crusader rolling chassis …………………………………….. It was probably a week or two before I thought I’d take stock of the parts and see what could be sold to finance the next bike. I wasn’t really a fan [ aesthetically ] of the Unit Triumphs and had planned to sell / swap it out and get a pre unit engine for the next build. As we [ me and Dave ] lifted the tarp off – it was like a light bulb moment !! There staring at us was the bones of the next build ! Bizzarely the engine had nestled itself in almost the perfect position under the chassis, and it only took a few minutes and a couple of blocks of wood to mock up the makings. It could have been made for the job – so we did. Within a morning we had mocked the bike up and had the engine sat in what we considered – the right place. A quick call to Maurice [ our engine plate manufacturer and sometime Ford apprentice ], brought him round armed with pens, cardboard and scissors ! Again, we couldn’t believe how simply everything slipped into place. A few more calls out to other mates increased the pile of bits to include a virtually new siamese exhaust system. The bike already had alloy rims and one of those silly “bacon slicer” front brake cooling rings [??], as well as clip-ons and a modified Goldie Lyta short circuit [ 3 gall ] tank. This was on a Sunday – the following afternoon, Maurice brought the alloy engine plates round, having made them in the morning [ at Fords ] and been “too ill” in the afternoon to work and had been sent home. That was around 2 o’clock – by 6.30 the bike was on the road and having a shakedown run.

I took the bike up the Lay-Bye on the following Friday – where it was promptly bought – by the same guy I had done the deal with for the blown up Enfield ! ;D

In similar circumstances I came across a Ducati 200 Sports which had a major gearbox problem, prompting the owner to accept my offer of a part / ex on a 350 Goldie I’d just had in. Now I can’t claim any originality for this swap – I’d seen just such a special in one of the weekly motorcycle mags. Again, this one used the Unit Triumph 350 and looked like a perfect match. The Ducati was a real jewel – beautifully crafted and engineered, but it became obvious I wasn’t going to find the gearbox parts I needed secondhand and new ones were …. expensive. I removed the engine and advertised it in our National sales mag – “The Exchange and Mart”. This was the bible of the day for secondhand parts and bikes / cars. In fact it catered for just about anything – a sort of paper E-Bay. It was sold immediately to a guy who had managed to drop a valve and wreck the piston and head into the bargain. That more than paid for a unit 500 triumph – I was going 350 again, but the 500 was available and for silly cheap money and pretty well the same size physically.

The Duke already had clip-ons, alloy rims 4 leading shoe front brake [ !!! ] rear rests and possibly the weirdest styled tank I have ever seen – it even had a stainless steel rack attached to the top – presumably for waterproofs / sandwiches?  With Maurice on the engine plates – the bike was mocked up and running with a few days. This time I went with twin high level pipes [ as I already had them ] with pipe mutes available from Triumph for their Trail version. Otherwise I kept the paintwork as it was – in any case it was totally unmarked and looked good in Red / Silver. In reality the bike was physically too small for me - Gorrila on a pit bike jobbie – and soon had to be moved on. By this time we’d come to realise that the best way to sell a bike – was to race it up the Bye-Pass. The bike was really quick and fast – mainly due to it’s low weight. The engine was totally stock, but in the Duke chassis and with the added lightness, it was the  equivalent of another 5 bhp or so. Handling and braking were also first class – allowing me to just about outrun a stock 650 Ton Ten that had taken up my challenge. Was he really pissed off as we told him it was a 350 motor !!!!!

No instant sale or fairy tale ending – but the following week there was a message for me left at the Hot Dog van to contact a guy who was interested in the Tricati. Actually, apart from feeling somehat cramped – I was really enjoying the  bike as it was a bit of a sleeper. I had contemplated tuning a Unit 500 for the bike – but it really WAS too small. The following week a deal was done with the guy that had left the message for me for a serious amount of cash [ relative ] which funded my first ex race Sidecar outfit – and left enough change to get a newer Race Transporter [ Ford Thames ].

No mention of my Manx / Goldie ???? To be honest, an exercise in futility. The only reason it [ race Manx ] ended up with a Goldie engine was – I had both sitting around ! The Manx as a rolling chassis [ ex Joe Dunphy / John Tickle ] bought less engine [ blown ] and the Goldie [ DBD34 ] engine was removed from a chassis that made up one of my Tribsas. The result was not as it was envisaged !! The engine sat higher in the Manx frame, courtesy of BSA’s oil pump housing – and even with the frame notched to accept this, it was still taller in the frame than the Manx. This one was during one of my “born again biker” phases and a true tribute to the Rose Tinted Googles syndrome. The bike was quickly sold for an obscene amount of money to an Aussie visiting London [ see “Into the Seventies – the Japanese are coming” Tale ]

So that’s pretty well all the “normal” Specials / Café Racers – then there were the real one- offs [ well, no more than a few ]  - NSU / Nortons, VW Beetle / Douglas Dragonfly, and others that came about as a matter of what was lying around in the shed.

Then there was the unique “Conbirdza” – anyone guessed yet without cheating ? OK – for a start this one had 3 wheels and was exactly one of those “let’s use up what’s lying around” mash ups.

I should also point out [ clue # 2 ] that I was by this stage seriously into Constellations, having had two of the ex. Bob Mac Constellations courtesy of my pal Ted Bloomfield [ RIP ]. I had also become intrigued with mastering three wheels – far more to it than “load up the double adult / child with all the holiday gear and take 2 days to get to Cornwall” [ see “ Five for sunny Cornwall” Tale ].

The stock Constellation engine was in my view one of the most powerful / torquey engines available in the day. Much underated and because of that – cheap ! Probably 40% or so cheaper than an equivalent Triumph / Norton / BSA. A pal of mine [  Dave Barker ] had a really quick outfit, and a combination of his bike and riding skills meant I nearly always came second best whenever we had a dual.
……………………………………..Enter the Conbirdza. ;D

I had a spare Connie tuned engine [ 2 actua